CEBU CITY – Merlito “Tiger” Sabillo was formally presented as the new WBO mini-flyweight or minimumweight world champion during a press conference held today at the St. Mark’s Hotel. Sabillo, who won the interim 105 lb division title last month in Colombia by 8th round TKO against Luis dela Rosa, is the second reigning world champion from the ALA Gym of Cebu.

In the April 2013 rankings of the World Boxing Organization, Sabillo (21-0, 11KO’s) has been elevated to regular champion status. The former champion in his division, Moises Fuentes of Mexico, remains the number one challenger of Sabillo’s stable mate, Donnie Nietes, who is the WBO lt.flyweight champ.

ALA Promotions CEO Michael Aldeguer plans to stage a fight for Sabillo sometime July or August possibly in the fighter’s hometown of Bacolod City. There is also the option of making him fight abroad. ALA Promotions is set to stage a card in San Diego, California this year.

Sabillo’s sensational victory in Colombia was the topic of WBO boxing insiders in Macau days before the Brian Viloria-Juan Francisco Estrada WBO flyweight title bout. Those who have seen the fight are still in awe of Sabillo’s performance and predicted that he will be one of the great champions in the lower weight categories.

Sabillo’s number one contender is Denver ‘The Excitement’ Cuello of Iloilo which leaves the door open for a possible ‘Ilonggo Civil War’.

“Boxers will fight whoever our managers tell us to fight,” Sabillo said, “If it’s against another Filipino, it’s OK with me.”

“If it happens, who not?” Aldeguer added, “But are Filipino fans ready for a Filipino fighting another Filipino?”

Sabillo had to travel for almost two days and sleep in airports enroute to winning the title. When asked how he relaxes himself before the big fight, Sabillo said that “I just pray. I know that when I fight inside the ring, God is always there.”

Poster announcing Nietes-Fuentes bout.
By Joaquin Henson

MANILA, Philippines – WBO lightflyweight champion Donnie (Ahas) Nietes has never lost to a Mexican in seven fights and expects to keep his record clean in facing WBO minimumweight titlist Moises Fuentes at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City on March 2 but his manager Michael Aldeguer said yesterday it will be the toughest bout in his 10-year career.

The battle of champions will put Nietes’ throne on the line as Fuentes is moving up from the 105-pound division to the 108-pound class. It was previously scheduled on Feb. 2 but postponed for a month. Aldeguer said Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera, whose brother Jorge manages Fuentes, had committed to be at ringside if the fight would’ve pushed through on Feb. 2.

“We understand Marco Antonio is checking his schedule and if there’s no conflict, he’ll definitely be in Cebu for the fight,” said Aldeguer. “We’re excited to welcome him in Cebu.” Barrera himself told The STAR last month he was looking forward to visiting the Philippines and calling on his friend Rep. Manny Pacquiao who defeated him twice.

Nietes, 30, is known as the tormentor of Mexican fighters with seven victims in his ledger. Thrice, Nietes repulsed Mexican challengers in Mexico to retain his WBO minimumweight title – a feat unmatched by any Filipino champion. Seven of his last eight victims were Mexican so he has made it a habit to feast on fighters from South of the Border. Fuentes, however, is an extraordinary Mexican fighter and won’t be a pushover for sure.

WBO president Paco Valcarcel of Puerto Rico has assured Fuentes that he will assign only neutral judges for the fight, allaying fears of a hometown verdict. In 2007, WBO superflyweight champion Fernando Montiel of Mexico invaded Cebu to stake his crown against local challenger Z Gorres and came away with a split decision, disproving skeptics who warned of a hometown robbery.

“It will be a hard fight as they are both world champions and it could end in a knockout or a close decision,” said Aldeguer. “This fight means a lot to Donnie. He will be fighting a current world champion who knocked out the legendary Ivan Calderon in his last fight. This is the fight that will define Donnie’s career in going after the bigger names if he gets through Fuentes. I believe that this could be his toughest fight ever.”

Aldeguer pointed out that Nietes is now the country’s longest reigning Filipino world champion and the second in history to Flash Elorde who was the world junior lightweight king for seven years. Nietes captured the WBO minimumweight crown in 2007 and after four successful defenses, relinquished the throne to claim the WBO lightflyweight diadem in 2011. In all, Nietes has been a world champion the last five straight years. Pacquiao’s world championship streak extended to four years from when he won the WBC superfeatherweight title in 2008 to when he lost the WBO welterweight crown to Timothy Bradley last June.

Fuentes, 27, said he’s not afraid to face Nietes on hostile territory. “Nietes is a very smart fighter,” he told The STAR. “I respect all Filipino fighters, they’re the best next to Mexican fighters. I notice that with Nietes, he starts strong and is dangerous in the first few rounds but he fades in the late rounds and slows down. That is a weakness I will take advantage of. I’ll be working hard (in the gym) to be in the best condition for Nietes.”

Jorge Barrera said he has lined up superflyweights to spar with Fuentes. “I want Moi to spar with bigger guys so he develops more power,” said Barrera. “Moi is already a great Mexican world champion and will be even greater when he beats Nietes.”

Fuentes’ record is 16-1, with 8 KOs compared to Nietes’ slate of 31-1-3, with 17 KOs. The stain in their records was only a slight smudge. Nietes lost a split decision to Angky Angkota in Jakarta in 2004 while Fuentes was beaten by Juan Hernandez, also by a split verdict, last year. Fuentes displayed heart when he recovered from a knockdown in the ninth round to eke out a split decision over Raul Garcia for the WBO minimumweight title in Guadalajara last August. His rise to fame was described as meteoric by the Mexican magazine Box Y Lucha (Boxing and Wrestling) which named him the “the revelation” of 2012.

Fuentes was cited for his one-sided demolition of local hero Calderon in Puerto Rico last October, proving the hometown advantage is a myth. Referee Luis Pabon halted the massacre at 1:22 of the fifth as Fuentes virtually ended Calderon’s 11-year career.

ALA Promotions is set to embark into a Philippine-wide tour starting this November.

People from the provinces all over the Philippines will finally get the opportunity to meet the ALA Stars Two-division World Champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes, WBO World # 1 and world championship bound AJ “Bazooka” Banal, IBF World # 4 Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista, WBO World # 1 Milan “El Metodico” Melindo, WBO International Jr. Welterweight Champion Jason “El Nino” Pagara, WBO Asia Pacific Champion Genesis “Azukal” Servania and WBA #2, WBA and WBO # 3 Rocky Road Warrior” Fuentes will take part of this tour in selected provinces throughout Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

ALA STARS PROVINCIAL TOUR is part of ALA Promotions way of giving back to the nationwide boxing fans that have supported the ALA Boxing Stars and have successfully made the Pinoy Pride boxing series featured on ABS-CBN Channel 2 the number 1 Sunday daytime television program for the 5th straight time.

The Pinoy Pride boxing mega series on television has beaten regular Sunday daytime ratings frontrunners, ASAP 2012, Kapuso Movie Festival, The Buzz and other celebrity driven television programs on television putting out double figure ratings way ahead of the aforementioned shows.

The ALA STARS PROVINCIAL TOUR likewise aims to give the loyal Filipino boxing fans the chance to see their favorite ALA boxing champions in the flesh.

This ALA Promotions roadshow will allow the people in the provinces to experience live quality action between the ALA Stars against international competition in action packed non-title match-ups.

These boxing bouts are to prepare the ALA Stars for the bigger Pinoy Pride world-class events in the future that will surely be a treat for boxing fans and would be fans alike in the selected provinces where the ALA STARS TOUR make stops.

“This is ALA Promotions and our fighters way of saying thank you to the loyal boxing fans from the far provinces that have supported us through the years and has contributed to the remarkable ratings of Pinoy Pride” Said ALA Promotions President and CEO Michael Aldeguer.

MILAN Melindo could earn his long overdue world title shot soon as ALA Promotions sent a letter to the World Boxing Organization (WBO) to require Brian Viloria to defend his crown.
ALA Promotions sent a letter to the WBO two weeks ago after Melindo’s impressive first round stoppage over former world champion Jesus Geles last June 3. ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer is optimistic that the WBO will order Viloria, the WBO flyweight champion, and No. 1 ranked flyweight Melindo to face each other in a mandatory world title fight within the year.
“Based on the policy, the mandatory fight is due. Plus the fact that Milan knocked out Geles, who was rated in the top 10 of the WBO, strengthens the position of Milan,” Aldeguer told Sun.Star Cebu.
An order by the WBO should dismiss the possibility of a bout between the 31-year-old Viloria and undefeated Nicaraguan star Roman Gonzalez.
Aldeguer is interested to promote the probable all-Filipino clash between Viloria and Melindo. However, ALA Promotions won’t start the negotiations until he receives the mandate from the WBO.
“We would like to promote the fight. It should be staged in Manila, either at the Araneta Coliseum or the MOA Arena,” he said. “We cannot move unless there is a go signal from the WBO,”
Although at this point nothing is definite, Aldeguer hopes that Melindo’s shot comes sooner than later.
“It’s difficult to say but we hope to make it happen this year. But it will all depend on the WBO or the plans of Team Viloria.”
Viloria is 31-3 with 18 knockouts and has been riding on a five-fight winning streak, beating some of the elite names of his division in his last three fights like Giovani Segura, Julio Cesar Miranda and Omar Niño Romero.

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.”

Donnie Nietes

EVEN IF many weren’t satisfied, WBO junior flyweight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes believes he did  a pretty good job in defeating Mexican Felipe Salguero in the Pinoy Pride XIV: Night Of Champions last Saturday at the Resorts World Manila.

The ALA Gym hall-of-famer Nietes received negative comments after failing to knock out Salguero. Nietes actually dominated the match but the young Mexican prospect held on to lose only via unanimous decision.

“If they were not happy with my performance, they can’t blame me,” said the 30-year-old Nietes. “I played the way I wanted and I showed everyone how I truly fight in the ring.”

In fact, Nietes, who extended his winning streak to 19 for a total of 30 wins with 16 knockouts, one loss and three draws, believes his recent victory was better than his WBO junior flyweight win against against Ramon Garcia Hirales last year in Bacolod.

“I am very satisfied the way I defeated Salguero compared to when I won against Ramon Garcia Hirales last year in Bacolod, where pressure and fear of losing was on my mind at that time,” added Nietes.

Nietes dominated the entire bout against Salguero as he showcased his vast experience and precision punching to overcome his foe.

“I was a lot more conditioned and prepared in Manila.”

Nietes will rest for a month before he and ALA boxing Promotions will decide about the much anticipated plan of pitting him against WBA junior flyweight champion Roman Gonzales.

“I want to fight Gonzales and win the WBA title. But it all depends on my promoter. They will decided what’s best for me.”


PASAY CITY – WBO jr.flyweight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes of the ALA Gym relied on his vast experience and precision punching to turn back the challenge of Felipe Salguero of Mexico. Nietes wisely picked his spots and scored with his uppercuts and overhand rights. Blood slowly trickled from Salguero’s nose as the rounds progressed.

Salguero kept on pressing the action but he missed more than he landed. In the eighth round, Nietes’ punches inflicted a cut on Salguero’s left eyebrow. Nietes had him groggy several times but could not finish him off. The Bacolod City native has been away from the ring for eight months and this could have affected his timing and blunted his instincts.

But Nietes’ lateral movement and uncanny ability to slip punches made Salguero beat the air.

The judges had it closer at 115-113, 116-112 and 116-112, perhaps giving credit to the Mexican’s toughness and aggressiveness. This was Nietes’ first defense he won last October 2011 against Mexican Ramon Garcia Hirales.

Nietes – who is also a former WBO minimumweight world champ – won his seventh fight at the world championship stage.

By Rene Bonsubre, Jr.

Donnie Nietes

This is a strong message of the reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) light flyweight champion Donnie ‘Ahas’ Nietes as he is set to defend his crown against former world champion Felipe Salguero of Toluca, Mexico in Pinoy Pride XIV, dubbed ‘Night of Champions’ this coming June 2 at the Resorts World Manila.

“I have studied his game. I have read his style,” said Nietes on a text message to Watchmen Daily Journal.

The Murcia-native champion further disclosed that he have gone through lots of sacrifices in preparing himself to this fight. “I have already sparred more than a hundred times to prepare myself,” he added.

Nietes has a standing record of 29-1-3 win-draw-loss card with 16KOs while Salguero is undefeated with 16 victories, 2 draws and11KOs.

This is the first title defense of Nietes after dethroning erstwhile title holder Ramon Garcia Hirales, also of Mexico, in October of last year at the University of St. La Salle Coliseum here in Bacolod City.

Meanwhile, also seeing action in the undercard is undefeated Milan ‘El Metodico’ Melindo (26-0-0, 10KOs) who will be taking former WBO light flyweight titlist Jesus Geles (13-2-1, 5KOs) of Columbia for the vacant WBO International flyweight title.

Melindo is rated No.1 contender by the WBO in his division and is on collision path with Filipino-American champion Brian Viloria. If ever Melindo pasts Geles on June 2, he will more likely becomes Viloria’s mandatory challenger.

ALA Promotions President/CEO Michael Aldeguer said that they don’t want to fight a fellow Filipino for the title but if they cannot avoid it they will take the fight.

By Jerome S. Galunan Jr.

THE next best thing to a world title shot is facing an opponent who has experienced being at the top. That is what’s in store for the unbeaten Milan Melindo, as he patiently waits for his moment to wear the coveted crown.

The 24-year-old world-rated tactician is taking a cerebral approach to the ring as the supporting main event of the 14th installment of the popular “Pinoy Pride” series, headlined by a world title clash between World Boxing Organization (WBO) flyweight champion Donnie Nietes and Felipe Salguero, on June 2 at the Resorts World Hotel and Casino in Pasay City.

Melindo defends his Inter-Continental flyweight belt and is also gunning for the vacant WBO International flyweight belt against ex-WBO light flyweight king Jesus Geles.

“Any fight against a former world champion will always be tough. I can’t say if his next fight will be for a world title as we are just waiting for the offer as Milan is now WBO No. 1,” ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer told Sun.Star Cebu.

The outcome of WBO flyweight champion Brian Viloria’s upcoming title defense against Mexican rival Omar Nino Romero on May 12 would somehow dictate Melindo’s title hopes.

“Milan wants to fight for a world title and we believe he is ready. We are just waiting for the right opportunity,” said Aldeguer, who isn’t too keen of an all-Filipino war between Melindo and Viloria.

Melindo, 26-0 with 10 knockouts, is rated No. 1 in the WBO, No. 7 in World Boxing Council, No. 8 in the International Boxing Federation and No. 9 in the World Boxing Association.

Geles, 24, is on a comeback trail after losing a fourth round knockout to Ramon Garcia in their rematch last year. Geles won the interim WBO light flyweight belt in 2010 after beating Omar Soto by majority decision, he successfully defended his interim crown with a razor-thin split decision over Garcia. After being declared the regular champion, Geles bowed down to Garcia in their rematch. The Columbian owns a 13-2-1 record with five knockouts.

“It will be an interesting tactical fight as both can box and brawl. It will depend on who will be more calculated,” said Aldeguer.

There is a moment in every young prospects career that he is given a grizzled veteran as a measuring stick if he truly is the real deal. This is the opportunity for unbeaten Genesis Servania to prove his worth as he trades leathers with battle-scarred former world title challenger Genaro Garcia in the undercard of “Pinoy Pride 14”.

“It’s a risky fight for Servania but that’s the only way to find out if he is ready to go to the next level. In ‘Pinoy Pride’ the goal is to feature great fights that fans could be excited about. Yes it is for a WBC regional title,” said Aldeguer.

Negrense boxing champion Donnie Nietes will have his first title defense for his World Boxing Organization jr. flyweight belt on June 2 at either the Resorts World or Araneta Coliseum in Manila.

Michael Aldeguer, president and CEO of the ALA Promotions, told members of the press in Cebu that they are still finalizing the fight card and Nietes’ opponent, who will come from the top 15 fighters of the WBO in the 108-lb division, reports from the wires said.

Nietes earned the respect of the world boxing stage after dethroning former lightflyweight champion Ramon Garcia of Mexico by unanimous decision before a homecrowd at the University of St. La Salle Coliseum, October last year.

The pride of Murcia town and Bacolod City, Nietes said he will continue to give his best in every fight to give pride and honor to his province and be an inspiration to aspiring Negrense boxers.

Aldeguer earlier said ALA Promotions has always believed in Nietes’ potential to be a world champion and they will backed him up in his every fight.

Meanwhile, Aldguer said the continued success of the “Pinoy Pride” boxing series, a joint project of the ALA Promotions and ABS-CBN, prompted them to aim for bigger and better boxing events, starting with the Nietes fight.

”More world title fights and we will try to bring named opponents that fight fans are familiar with. It may not be easy and would cost much, but we owe it to the public for making Pinoy Pride what it is now, and we know the public will be expecting more from ALA Promotions and ABS-CBN,” Aldeguer said.

“We are looking into that direction of promoting more world titles fights in the Philippines,” he added.

Nietes, the only current world champion from ALA Promotions, last fought for over five months ago.

Either Rey “Boom-Boom” Bautista or world-rated Milan Melindo is fighting in the co-main event of one of ALA Promotion biggest events this year.

The choice depends on the result of ALA Promotions’ negotiation with the camp of Genaro “Poblanito” Garcia.*with a report from PNA

It has already been over five months since the momentous night when Donnie Nietes captured his second division world title after beating Ramon Garcia in his home province of Negros Occidental.

After winning the World Boxing Organization (WBO) light flyweight crown with a unanimous decision over Garcia at the University of St. La Salle Coliseum in Bacolod City on Oct. 8 of last year, the 29-year-old janitor-turned-boxer hasn’t seen any more action.

However, the long wait is finally over as Nietes is having his first title defense of the WBO light flyweight title in May, in a Manila card that would include either ALA
Gym stars Milan Melindo or Rey “Boom-Boom” Bautista.

“We are working on who his opponent would be but we still need the approval of the WBO,” ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer told Sun.Star Cebu. “Donnie’s opponent should be at the top 15.”

ALA Promotions currently has three venues to choose–Ynares Sports Arena, Cuneta Astrodome, and Resorts World.

Despite the long layoff, Aldeguer believes that Nietes neither has ring rust nor needs a tune-up fight, because he has been working rigorously in the gym during his ring hiatus.

“A tune-up fight could be sometimes risky and cause an injury so we are going through with the title defense in May. Donnie is a disciplined fighter who always keeps himself in shape so there should be no problem,” said the Cebuano promoter.

Aldeguer said that the choice between Melindo and Bautista in the co-main event depends on ALA Promotions’ negotiations with former world title challenger Genaro “Poblanito” Garcia.

“It would be Boom-Boom if we get to finalize the negotiations for Garcia to fight him.

If not, then Milan will be in the undercard,” he said.

Bautista still has a score to settle with Garcia after a different Genaro Garcia was sent to the Philippines in the 25-year-old Boholano’s return to Bohol this month.

Instead of the Genaro Garcia who figured in three world title fights, the one sent here was a patsy with a 10-11 record and was knocked out by Bautista in the second round.



CEBU, Philippines – AJ “Bazooka” Banal turned his much-hyped showdown with Mexican Raul “El Bule” Hidalgo into a cruise, scoring a first round TKO to retain his WBO Asia-Pacific bantamweight crownin the main event of the Pinoy Pride XIII: Road to Glory at the full-packed Pacific grand ballroom of Waterfront-Cebu City Hotel and Casino Saturday.

Banal was just starting to heat up when he landed a solid left hook to the chin that wobbled Hidalgo late in the opening round. The visibly dazed and groggy Mexican kept on punching with his head down and his body trembling, prompting referee Joseph Danrex Tapdasan to step in and call off the bout to prevent the Mexican from further harm. The official time was 2:29 of the first round.

“The boxer (Hidalgo) was already trembling. He was not down, but you can see that his knees were not stable. He could no longer look straight and he doesn’t know who is in front of him,” said Tapdasan in defending his decision that drew mixed reactions from the fans.

“The entertainment side (of boxing) will have to take a backseat at that point. What is more important to me is to protect and safeguard the welfare of the boxer. I could have put him in a dangerous situation had I decided to let him continue,” added Tapdasan.

For his part, ALA Boxing Gym big boss Antonio Aldeguer felt the stoppage was “too premature” but said the referee can’t be blamed for doing his job.

“As a fan and promoter, it was too premature to stop the fight. I don’t know the rules, but he (Tapdasan) should have given him a mandatory eight count,” said Aldeguer. “But objectively as a referee, he did what was right.”

ALA Promotions president and CEO Michael Aldeguer echoed his father’s sentiment. “The referee should have prolonged it a bit, but we can’t blame him anyway for doing what he has to do,” said the younger Aldeguer.

“A win for me is a win, whether by early stoppage or decision. It doesn’t matter for me what others may think as long as I was able to make my fans happy,” said Banal, who improved his record to 27-1-1 including 20 KOs. Hidalgo slipped to 16-6 (12 KOs).

Asked if he’s ready for another crack at the world title, Banal quickly replied: “I am ready anytime. That’s what I’ve been waiting for. If opportunity comes, I’m willing to take the challenge.”

In the supporting main event, OPBF flyweight champion Rocky Fuentes pulled off a spectacular win along with ALA stablemates Albert Pagara and Arthur Villanueva.

Fuentes (33-6-2, 20 KOs) scored two knockdowns before finally stopping Franco Javier after 52 seconds of the sixth round. Pagara (11-0, 9 KOs) knocked out Thai Phupha Por Nobnom (10-8, 9 KOs) in 2:38 of the second round while Villanueva (18-0, 12 KOs) escaped with a unanimous decision victory over Rey Migreño (15-19-3, 13 KOs).

Cebu City – AJ ‘Bazooka’ Banal easily made the bantamweight limit of 118 lbs on his first attempt while Raul ‘El Bule’ Hidalgo of Mexico stepped on the scales at 119 lbs. It took him less than an hour to sweat off the excess pound for their WBO Asia-Pacific title fight.

Banal and Hidalgo will fight in the twelve round main event at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino Saturday night.

For the supporting main event, the ‘Road Warrior’ Rocky Fuentes stepped in at 113.5 lbs and Javier Franco of Mexico weighed 116.5 lbs and was asked to shed at least one pound. The contracted weight for their ten round non-title contest is 114 lbs. An hour later, Franco was not able to lose weight and will be wearing heavier ten ounce gloves on fight night.

Banal and Fuentes will have a lot to lose when they stake their lofty world rankings against the visiting fighters.

‘Prince’ Albert Pagara and Thailand’s Phupha Por Nobnum both weighed 116 lbs for their eight rounder.

Arthur ‘El Matador’ Villanueva stepped on the scales at 118 lbs while Rey Migreno weighed 119.5 lbs. Migreno had to shed the excess weight and stepped in at 118 in his second attempt for this eight round non-title affair.

In another eight rounder, Roma Rate weighed 108 lbs while opponent Jade Yagahon weighed 107 lbs.

Arjan Canillas (126 lbs) and Ranie Pamatian (126.5 lbs) will fight in a scheduled six rounder.

Pagara, Villanueva, Canillas and Rate are all unbeaten prospects.

Jun “Flash” Intor (127 lbs) will provide comic relief in his four rounder with Alejandro Marapao (126 lbs).

Crispin Parba (131 ¾ lbs) and Belmar Quinones (130 ½ lbs) will open the festivities with their four round affair.

The weigh-in held at the SM Mall Events Center was supervised by Glen Agena and Rolando Mendoza of GAB-Cebu.


As of Thursday noon, most of the expensive seats were sold out. This is good sign for ALA Promotions; most of the fans here are unaffected by the Genaro Garcia fiasco. Boxing has also steadily moved into the mainstream as the PINOY PRIDE series has consistently topped television ratings here in the country on Sunday mornings. This is a good sign for Philippine boxing as a whole.

During the presscon yesterday, ALA Promotions CEO and President Michael Aldeguer talked about staging the next Pinoy Pride in Metro Manila. Aldeguer hinted at the possibility of having Rey Bautista and Donnie Nietes in one fight card. The WBO lt.flyweight champion is due for a title defense.


By Rene Bonsubre, Jr.

WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion AJ “Bazooka” Banal of ALA Gym Philippines will be tested anew before his second world title shot of his career on the 24th of March at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

Banal W 26 (KO 19) L 1 D 1 last fought October 8, 2011 in Bacolod City where he beat Mexican Mario Briones of Mexico via a 12 round UD beat down and will be facing another Mexican in Raul Hidalgo for his fourth defense of his WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title.

Hidalgo who sports a record of W 16 (KO 12) L 5 D 0 will be Banal’s last test before fighting for the WBO World Bantamweight title which rumor has it that current champ Jorge Arce will be vacating to challenge Nonito Donaire, Jr. of the Pilippines. Should this happen, Banal will possibly be in the clear to fight for a world championship this year.

Also to be featured in the undercard are promising undefeated Filipino fighters Prince Albert Pagara and Arthur Villanueva. OPBF Flyweight Champ Rocky Fuentes will likewise be in this exciting fight card.

Pinoy Pride 13 is a proud presentation of ALA Promotions and ABS CBN Sports gearing towards showcasing the Filipino fighters to the world.

Mandaue City – AJ ‘Bazooka’ Banal (26W-1L-1D, 17 KO’s) of Ermita, Cebu City will defend his WBO Asia-Pacific bantamweight title against Raul Hidalgo (15W-5L, 11 KO’s) of Mexico this March 24.

But the favourite question among the sportswriters was if Banal can fight for a world title this year.

“We are not treating this as a mere tune-up,” ALA Promotions CEO Michael Aldegeur said, “You can never underestimate a Mexican fighter. Yes, AJ is nearing a title fight and we’ll assess after this fight. We are also looking at the possibility of AJ fighting on the undercard of a Nonito Donaire fight in the U.S.”

Banal for his part said, “I am satisfied with the results of my last two fights. My confidence is back. I have prepared long and hard, I’ve been in the gym since December. I will not look past Hidalgo. He could be better than his record.”

Banal is the number ranked contender in the WBO. The reigning champion, Jorge Arce, of Mexico, has been reported to be planning another move up in weight.

By Rene Bonsubre, Jr.


Things appear to be looking up for famed ALA Promotions prospect AJ “Bazooka” Banal, the reigning WBO Asia Pacific bantamweight champion who is ranked No. I by the WBO and No. 3 by the IBF as he has an opportunity to fight for the title under either world organization.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told Standard during a conversation in San Antonio, Texas,  that Jorge “Travieso” Arce is moving back up to bantamweight to fight four-division champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire who won the WBO title beating former champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr handily last February 4 at the Alamadome in San Antonio.

Donaire’s manager Cameron Dunkin confirmed the fight and with the specialist’s findings that Donaire’s left hand wasn’t broken as originally feared,  chances are the Arce fight will go ahead sometime in May either in the Cowboys Stadium in Texas or the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

With Arce moving up to fight Donaire it leaves the WBO bantamweight title vacant although as of now Arce’s handlers haven’t confirmed his decision to move back to 122 and formally notified the WBO.

In another development IBF Championship Committee chairman Lindsey Tucker  has announced that since 118 pound champion Abner Mares has informed the IBF he was relinquishing his title and not fighting mandatory challenger Vusi Malinga of South Africa, the IBF had given the handlers of Banal and Malinga some 90 days within which to finalize negotiations for a title fight. If Branco Milenkovic who handles Malinga is unable to come to terms with ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer then the IBF will order a purse bid.

Should Banal opt to fight for the vacant WBO title he will face Thailand’s Pungluang Sor Singyu, the WBO Oriental interim champion and the WBO Asia Pacific Youth champion who is 23 years old and has an impressive  record of 39-1 with 26 knockouts.

On the other hand is ALA Promotions decide to go after the IBF title then Banal will clash with  Vusi “Marvelous” Malinga the 29 year old southpaw with a record of 20-3-1 with 12 knockouts who, in his last fight,  beat Banal’s stablemate Michael Domingo by a twelve round unanimous decision in a title eliminator in South Africa on October 30, 2010.

Banal himself a southpaw is 23 years old and boasts of a record of  26-1-1 with 19 knockouts and is one of the ALA fighters being eyed by Top Rank alongside undefeated WBO No.1 flyweight Milan Melindo to figure in forthcoming Top Rank fight cards in the US.

Arum told us that he wants the ALA fighters to train in the Top Rank Gym in Las  Vegas before being featured on the fight cards of Top Rank promotions.


By Ronnie Nathanielsz

ALA Boxing Promotions is offering 23-year-old WBO Intercontinental flyweight champion Milan “El Metodico” Melindo a mandatory bout this year if he surpasses another tough test against former WBC and WBO Latino flyweight champion Juan Esquer in the main event of the Pinoy Pride XI on Jan. 28 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

Melindo, who sports a 25-0 (win-loss) record with nine knockouts, is one of the brightest bets for a world crown in the flyweight division after scoring a lopsided win over Mexican Francisco Rosas last year.

“His reputation in the boxing world is very high,” said ALA Boxing Promotions president Michael Aldeguer during yesterday’s official launching of the event at the PAGCOR Casino Filipino theater at the Waterfront. “A lot of champions want to fight Milan and we are ready for that. He just needs to win every time and we are planning to follow mandatory bouts for him.”

Fellow Filipino Brian Viloria reigns as the WBO flyweight champion and a fight against him seems possible according to Milendo’s camp. But they said other options are being considered to prevent an all-Filipino duel.

As for now, Milendo’s eyes are set on Esquer as he defends his WBO intercontinental title.

“I viewed his tapes and his style is very fit for me because he is a slugger. I’ll just have to find a way to beat him,” said Milendo.

Esquer’s latest bout ended up in disappointment after he was disqualified against Ricardo Nunez last November during their WBO Latino flyweight bout for excessive low blows in the seventh round.


Meanwhile, former Braveheart stable pug and WBO Oriental featherweight champion Lorenzo “Thunder Bolt” Villanueva (21-0-20 KOs) will fight Mexican Diego “Tyson” Ledesma (18-4-2 12 KOs) in a non-title bout in the undercard.

Also to be featured in the undercard is Mhar Jhun “Astig” Macahilig (13-1-7KOs), who will be facing Thai veteran Kaichon Sor Vorapin (25-10-9KOs). Bacolod’s reigning OPBF minimumweight champion Merlito Sabillo will also go up against Indonesian journeyman and Indonesia Boxing Commission minumumweight champion Sofyan Effendi (11-11-2 9KOs).

Former ALA fighter and RP No. 1 featherweight contender Joseph Von Minoza returns to his original stable to fight Korean Yoo Shin Kim in the 128lbs division.

Another attraction will be the bout between Jojo “Flash” Entor against Crispin Barba while Mark Acub and Samuel Galinato will fight in the 126lbs division. Ivor Lastrilla faces Jicky Gaco in the opening bout.

ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer says AJ “Bazooka” Banal (26-1-1, 19 KO’s) is being lined up for a possible WBO Interim bantamweight title fight against Thailand’s No.1 world ranked Pungluang Sor Singyu who has an impressive record of 38-1 with 26 knockouts, many of them against Filipinos.

The solidly built Thai stopped Marvin Tampus in six rounds, Paul Apolinario, Freddie Martinez and Elmar Francisco in two and Joel Rafols in the first round. Pungluang won the WBO Asia Pacific Interim title with a 2nd round TKO of Nathan Bolicio last October 11 and won the Youth title with a 1st round knockout of Jilo Merlin on October 31, 2009.

Aldeguer told the Manila Standard that during the recent WBO Convention in Puerto Rico he started to “open up discussions” with WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel and Asia Pacific vice president Leon Panoncillo about a possible interim title fight, ”hopefully in March 2012.”

The interim title fight loomed after reigning WBO/WBC champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire announced he is moving up to campaign as a super bantamweight following his shutout win over two division champion Omar Andres Narvaez of Argentina last October 22 at the Theater in Madison Square Garden.

Although there are also possibilities of the talented southpaw Banal fighting for the No.1 mandatory spot in the IBF, Aldeguer said “for now, the focus is on the WBO not the IBF, but we will study the best option.”

Aldeguer informed us he would discuss the planned interim title fight with ABS-CBN vice president for Sports Peter Musngi before sending the WBO president a formal letter.

Aldeguer is in Los Angeles and plans on visiting the gym of Donaire’s trainer Robert Garcia who informed us that he would be ready to train Banal beginning next year since he is currently in Mexico working with Antonio Margarito.

Aldeguer who visited Garcia’s gym in the past said he would “still be passing by his gym to see the place again and prepare a place for Team Banal to stay when he starts training with Robert January of next year.” He added “definitely, whatever happens Banal will be training in the US next year. We feel that Robert is the right guy for Banal and maybe in the future for some of our other fighters.”


By Ronnie Nathanielsz