TWO WORLD TITLE FIGHTS IN PINOY PRIDE 23: FILIPINOS KONTRA LATINOS
By Rene Bonsubre, Jr.
Mon, 14 Oct 2013
CEBU CITY – Two world title fights will headline one of the biggest fight cards in the history of Philippine boxing this November 30. The 23rd edition of 'PINOY PRIDE' will be held at the historic Araneta Coliseum with the two WBO world champions of the ALA Gym defending their titles.
ALA Promotions made the official announcement today in a press conference held at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel. In a battle of undefeated fighters, WBO minimumweight champ Merlito 'Tiger' Sabillo (23-0, 12 KO's) will face mandatory challenger Carlos Buitrago (27-0, 16 KO's) of Nicaragua.
WBO light flyweight champ Donnie 'Ahas' Nietes will also defend his crown against a still to be named opponent.
This will be the second time that a double world championship fight card was hosted by the Philippines. In 2009, Brian Viloria dethroned Ulises Solis for the IBF jr.flyweight title and Nonito Donaire retained his belt against IBF flyweight title against Raul Martinez. The Araneta Coliseum has seen legendary champions and historic fights – Flash Elorde vs Harold Gomes, Ali-Frazier III: Thrilla in Manila and Manny Pacquiao vs Oscar Larios, just to name a few.
“We received e-mails and letters from fans requesting that this event will be held in the Philippines,” ALA Promotions CEO and President Michael Aldeguer said, “We also want to show that the Philippines can host events of this magnitude.”
This card was initially planned for Dubai but there the country is also expecting the return of thousands of overseas workers for the Christmas season. Aldeguer said that they are still looking forward to staging a card in Dubai and in other countries here in Asia in the near future.
The undercards will feature three ALA stars who have headlined past PINOY PRIDE events – Jason “El Niño” Pagara, Milan 'El Metodico” Melindo and AJ “Bazooka” Banal. Their Latino opponents will be announced on a later date.
Sabillo will be making his second title defense after stopping Jorle Estrada of Colombia in nine rounds at the Solaire resort and Casino last July.
“I have seen videos of Buitrago's fights.” Sabillo said, “This will be a good fight. We will just see what happens on top of the ring but I will try my best to retain my title.”
Nietes (31-1-4, 17KO'S) is also looking forward to a rematch with Moises Fuentes of Mexico sometime in March 2014. They fought to a majority draw last March here in Cebu and they may stage the rematch in Macau.
Nietes is also thinking about moving up in weight which could mean going up against WBO/WBA champion Juan Francisco “El Gallo” Estrada of Mexico, who beat Melindo last July.
“I could fight Estrada or any of the other champions at flyweight,” Nietes said, “I do want to win a third world title.”
Nietes had fought at the world championship level in two divisions since 2007.
MELINDO'S ROAD BACK
When asked to comment about his unanimous decision loss to Estrada, Melindo said that he learned a lot during that fight.“I learned that I should not be too confident.It is not easy to fight for a championship, I should be able to make adjustments during the fight.”
ALA Promotions VP Dennis Cañete said the loss made Melindo more mature as a boxer. ALA Promotions Pres. Michael Aldeguer also acknowledged that Estrada is a very good boxer and cited the Mexican's win over Brian Viloria, “It wasn't because Viloria was not doing anything, it was because of what Estrada did.”
The five ALA boxers stated that their hard training will make them victorious this November.
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