Banal ready for Thailand gamble

FIGHTING in Thailand for a world championship could be a huge risk for a promising Filipino fighter like AJ Banal because of the country’s reputation for hometown decisions.

But the thought of possibly winning a coveted world title crown is just too precious to pass, which has the 23-year-old Banal ready for the worst case scenario.

“Yes it can be a gamble but we just have to be prepared for whatever happens,” ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday of the possibility of his young ward fighting in Thailand.

Banal, who is No. 1 rated bantamweight by the World Boxing Organization (WBO), is fighting for WBO’s vacant 118-pound division belt against No. 2 ranked Pungluang Sor Singyu.

ALA Promotions is currently negotiating for the world title fight to be staged in the Philippines but One Songchai Promotions also wants the fight to be in Thailand.

“We are still working on it but the Thai promoter wants to promote the fight in Thailand too,” said Aldeguer. “It’s hard to say, it won’t be an easy negotiation.”

Banal, 27-1-1 with 20 knockouts, has been riding a 10-fight winning streak, which includes wins over respected fighters like Luis Alberto Perez and Cecilio Santos. Banal once fought for the interim World Boxing Association super flyweight crown in 2008 but he got knocked out by Rafael Concepcion in the 10th round.

Despite being just 24 years old, Sor Singyu is already a veteran of 42 fights in a span of over seven years. He has an impressive record of 41-1 with 26 knockouts. His only loss was in 2009, a split decision loss to Belgian fighter Stephane Jamoye. He has an 18-fight winning romp, wherein his last five were against Filipinos.

Wherever the fight will be held, may it be in the Philippines or Thailand, Aldeguer is sure of one thing, that this is Banal’s biggest chance to become a world champion.
“Yes it’s a winnable fight for AJ.”