WINDHOEK – There seems to be no stopping Namibian boxers in their quest to become world-class hard punchers in the rigorous sport of professional boxing.
This was confirmed by Paulus ‘The Rock’ Ambunda, Tyson Uushona and Paulus ‘The Hitman’ Moses after the trio emerged victorious in their respective international bouts at a fully packed Ramatex Hall in Windhoek on Saturday evening.
Undisputed World Boxing Organization (WBO) Africa Bantamweight Champion Ambunda was clearly in no mood to compromise as he gave his Brazilian opponent William Prado a decent hiding to successfully defend his belt. In doing so, Ambunda extended his record to 20-wins from the same number of bouts in the paid ranks.
Both fighters started off like a house on fire with Ambunda closing in with a few decent blows to which the streetwise Brazilian responded well in the opening two rounds.
The subsequent rounds saw Ambunda up his tempo as he unleashed a combination of impressive blows that had Prado on the back foot for the duration.
In the 5th and 8th rounds of heated action, the hard-punching Ambunda kept his momentum going and fired some well-calculated body blows coupled with a few upper-cuts that left Prado bleeding profusely from the nose with a Kilmanjaro to scale.
In the final four rounds, the Brazilian desperately tried to salvage something from the contest with some short-lived attacks, but Ambunda kept coming forward until the final seconds of the bout to emerge the well-deserved victor.
In another crackerjack affair, Uushona retained the WBO Africa Welterweight title when he defeated South African opponent Isaac Hlashwayo on points after 12-rounds of heated action, to claim the WBO Africa Welterweight title.
Crowd favourite and former World Boxing Association (WBA) Lightweight champion ‘The Hitman’ Moses signaled his desire for another shot at the coveted world title when he gallantly defeated his namesake Cassius ‘The Hitman’ Baloyi from South Africa in a WBO International Lightweight title bout over 10-rounds.
Abmerk Shindjuu also retained the WBO Africa Flyweight crown with a courageous victory over Khanyekude Mukhansi (RSA) after 12-rounds of brawling action.
In other under card bouts, Peter ‘The Butcher’ Malakia defeated Zimbabwean Tawanda Chigwida on points in an International lightweight non-tile bout over 4-rounds, while Samuel Kapapu returned the compliment to his compatriot by trouncing Richard Muriri from Zimbabwe on points in another Lightweight four rounder.
In the Junior Lightweight division, Abraham Ndaendapo easily waltzed past Matthew Chimbi on points, while Niilo Frans saw off Manfred Haimbanga in an all-Namibian affair.
By: Otniel Hembapu
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.”
Naidjala confirmed this when he marked another milestone in the tough and demanding world of professional boxing with a gallant victory over Kenyan opponent, Emilio Norfat.
The Prince successfully retained his WBO belt with a unanimous points decision over 12 rounds of heated action at the Windhoek Country Club Resort & Casino on Friday.
After a well-balanced first round, it became a dog-eat-dog affair with both boxers showing no sign of retreat by keeping each other engaged with some great combinations of punches.
In the 5th and 6th rounds, Naidjala upped his tempo and started unleashing some impressive blows that kept the skilful Norfat running for safety for the better part of those rounds.
In the final rounds, Naidjala started taking the fight to the Kenyan, hitting his opponent with some well-measured heavy body blows and a combination of quick upper-cuts and jabs that kept Norfat at bay until the final seconds of the fight.
Naidjala now boasts a remarkable record of 14 wins from 14 bouts in the paid ranks.
In other action, the going got too tough for Sacky “Izinyoka” Shikukutu after the somewhat rusty pugilist fell prey to the merciless punches of Tommy Hango.
Hango, who was in no mood to compromise right from the outset, displayed some fine points in the trading of leather with an avalanche of impressive blows, which Shikukutu failed to reply to.
Hango kept up the momentum and emerged victorious with a unanimous points decision to clinch the National Welterweight title.
In the under-card fights, Manfred Haimbanga defeated Peter Philipus with a 4th-round knockout in the Junior Lightweight division, while Mukwendje Toivo trounced Dawid Egumbo in the Featherweight division.
Sakaria Lukas defeated compatriot Mathius Johannes in the Featherweight division over four rounds, while Anthony Jaarman lost to Lucas Ndafoluma in the Welterweight division over four rounds.
Peter Malakia defeated Zimbabwean Ndumiso Tshabangu in the Lightweight division over six rounds and Steven Shimbonde beat Jason Mashala in a Catch-weight bout.
Story by Otniel Hembapu
WBO bantamweight queen Kaliesha “Wild Wild” West (15-1-3, 4KOs) traveled 150 miles south from her home town of Moreno Valley, CA, to defend her crown versus the very tough and awkward Claudia Andrea “Chica 10″ Lopez (18-6, 4KOs) in a ten round championship bout held at the Ernesto Ruffo Appel Municipal Gymnasium in the coastal town of Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico, last Saturday night. The fight was presented by Erik “Terrible” Morales’ Box Latino with Golden Boy Promotions and broadcast live in Mexico by Televisa and in the United States by Fox Sports Net.
West had not stepped into the ring since last August when she traveled all the way to Manzanillo, Mexico to defeat Jessica Villafranca in her second defense of the title she captured in late ’10 by stopping Angel Gladney in seven rounds. The southpaw Lopez, a veteran South American from Trelew, Argentina, was coming a unanimous decision win over Sonia Paladino in July of last year.
The reigning champion began to show off her speed early in the first despite both holding back in the round of study. Knowing that perhaps West was much quicker than her and skilled, Lopez stayed in the pocket as she tried and at times succeeded in countering West while trying to make it into a brawl by manhandling Kaliesha in the clinches. With a bruise swelling up quickly on the right side of her cheek, West looked to be having trouble in the third finding her distance while Lopez began to apply the pressure.
The action opened up in the fourth as both ladies began to throw more punches with Kaliesha being the more traditional fighter with combinations while Lopez tried to score heavy artillery. West began to find a home for her right hand in fifth as she began to score it as a lead punch and then ended the sixth heat with a huge three punch combination to the face of Lopez. Despite Kaliesha being the more precise puncher, Lopez had her moments with an all out pressure style as she kept coming forward no matter what West scored. Lopez was more effective in the inside when she was able to land the harder punches.
Lopez welcomed West to the ninth round hard straight left and Kaliesha returned the greeting soon after with an even harder straight right hand. Both women went toe to toe in the tenth and final round to finish off the show.
At the end, judges Fabricio Lopez and Ericka Contreras scored it 98-92 each while judge Sergio Caiz had it an inexplicable 95-95 giving the majority decision win to West
Ringside report and photos by Felipe Leon
Professional boxer Kaliesha West will be the featured speaker at the Redlands Rotary Club on April 26.
West, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight champion, lives in nearby Moreno Valley and is also an emergency room host at Loma Linda University Medical Hospital.
“I’m really looking forward to my speaking engagement at the Redlands Rotary Club,” West said. “I’m excited to meet new people, many of them being my neighbors.”
West, 24, is currently in training for a title defense against Claudia Andrea Lopez at the Ernesto Ruffo Appel Municipal Gymnasium in Rosarito B.C. Mexico.
West, or “Wild Wild” West as she is referred to during her ring entrances, is 14-1-3 with four knockouts. Lopez is 18-5 with four knockouts of her own.
“I can’t wait to share my passion for boxing with others,” West said. “Thank you to Redlands Rotary Club for supporting female athletes. I’m really thankful that I’m being given this opportunity to share my story.”
West’s 10-round, WBO title defense will be featured on the Mexican television network, Televisa, as part of the weekly boxing series “Sabados de Corona.”
West turned pro in 2006 after establishing herself as a star in the amateur ranks, where she won nearly 100 bouts, including the 2003 National Golden Gloves title.
In 2010 West became a world champion when she won the vacant Women’s WBO Bantamweight title with a seventh-round knockout of Angel Gladney on the undercard of the “Sugar” Shane Mosley-Sergio Mora Golden card at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
West last fought in August of 2011 when she defeated Jessica Villafranca by unanimous decision in Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico.
The Redlands Rotary Club will host this engagement at the Masonic Lodge in Redlands (131 Cajon St.). The Club meets on Thursdays.
Seven world time champion and the only Mexican fighter to win four full-fledged world titles in as many divisions, Erik “Terrible” Morales along with his promotional outfit Box Latino, return to Baja California to present an explosive night of professional boxing on Saturday, April 14th, 2012. In the main event, Moreno Valley, CA’s Kaliesha “Wild Wild” West (14-1-3, 4KOs) will defend her WBO bantamweight title for the third time versus quite possibly her toughest opponent yet, the tough Claudia Andrea “Chica 10” Lopez (18-5, 4KOs) of Trelew, Argentina in a scheduled ten round championship bout from the Ernesto Ruffo Appel Municipal Gymnasium in the beautiful seaside town of Rosarito, Mexico.
The West vs. Lopez championship tilt will be televised live in Mexico by mega channel Televisa as part of their weekly boxing series “Sabados de Corona”.
The twenty-four year old West is no stranger to Mexico with her next fight being the third time she performs in our neighbor to the south. In her first fight on Aztec soil, West stopped Flor Verdugo in two rounds in Ensenada and in her last fight, she defended her title via unanimous decision over Jessica Villafranca last August in Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico. West captured her title by stopping Angel Gladney in seven on the under card of “Canelo” Alvarez-Baldomir held at the Staples Center in 2010 and has defended it for the first time with a draw versus the current IBF flyweight champion Ava Knight. Known for her speed and technicality, West had and extensive and successful amateur career which continued in the professional ranks. Along with her world title, West is ranked as the #2 bantamweight in the world by the WBC and the #3 by the computerized rankings of BoxRec.com.
Her next opponent might just be her toughest when she faces the game Argentinean Claudia Lopez. Having faced the best her country has to offer in Alejandra Marina Oliveras and Marcela Eliana Acuña, Lopez will visit Mexico for the first time in hopes of taking West’s title back to South America. It will not be the first time that Lopez leaves her hometown or challenges for a title since in April of 2010, Lopez traveled to South Korea and challenged Hyun-Mi Choi for the WBA featherweight strap which she lost in a controversial split decision.
The West-Lopez is expected to be a classic boxer versus brawler in which not only of the ladies will be called the winner but also the fans in the house and watching over the airwaves.
Published: Apr 04 2012 by: ProBoxing-Fans.com
According to sources within Zanfer Promotions, Puerto Rico’s Jesus Rojas (18-1-1, 13KOs) has been mentioned as a potential opponent for WBO bantamweight champion Jorge Arce on the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley undercard on June 9th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. In his last bout in February, Arce (60-6-2, 46KOs) got revenge on Lorenzo Parra with a fifth round knockout victory in Mexicali.
By Miguel Rivera
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.
The main criticism regarding talented and hard-hitting bantamweight top contender AJ “Bazooka” Banal (26-1-1, 19 KOs) was that he couldn’t fill a dollar – he only has three quarters, or in other words, he fades during the “championship rounds”. As gifted as the 23-year-old Bukidnon-native is, his heart, and stamina are main factors that keep him on the outside of being a World Champion
Instead of going for broke, however, Banal pulled back for a few rounds, played keep away, and smartly picked his spots. Signs that “Bazooka Joe” has learned from his past experiences.
What he would give to have that wisdom back in 2008, when he dropped a KO loss to Rafael Concepcion for the Interim WBA sper flyweight belt in a fight he was dominating from the opening bell. Banal was ahead of all scorecards when he refused to get up during that fateful 10th round when he got dropped for the first time ever in his career.
This weekend, Banal gets to test his mettle once again as the WBO’s #1 bantamweight headlines ALA Promotions’ March 24 Pinoy Pride card at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.
Banal will be facing tough Mexican in Raul Hidalgo (16-5-0, 12 KOs) for his fourth defense of his WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title, which will also serve as a tune-up before he goes on to finally challenge for another World Title.
Also to be featured in the undercard are promising undefeated Filipino fighters Prince Albert Pagara and Arthur Villanueva, as well as OPBF Flyweight Champion Rocky Fuentes.
Another added motivation for Banal is the fact that he has more to fight for at this stage in his life. “I was thinking about my son during those hard rounds. He’s the one who gives me strength and inspiration,” Banal told be back in Bacolod after his win against Briones.
Considered as one of the best boxing talents from Cebu, something undefeated lightweight rising star Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta himself confirmed to me in one of our conversations, Banal is definitely looking to be on the right path to fulfilling his promise.
At a packed Windhoek Country Club, Naidjala retained his WBO Africa Interim Bantamweight title after a sensational performance against South Africa’s Lwazi Mzoliso.
In an unbelievable fight, Naidjala was knocked down three times but showed great courage to recover before eventually knocking Mzoliso out in the sixth round.
After a tentative first round, Naidjala exploded into action in the second and soon knocked Mzolisi down with a right hook for the count of eight.
Mzolisi managed to get up but was once again knocked down towards the end of the round. He got up but was clearly in trouble and was saved by the bell.
Mzolisi recovered quickly and caused a major stir when he knocked Naidjala down in the third round. It was not to clear whether Naidjala slipped or was knocked down, but he had to take the eight-count all the same.
Mzoliso was all over Naidjala and there was no doubting the second knockdown as he sent Naidjala to the canvas with a hook to the head. The capacity crowd was stunned into disbelief, but Naidjala managed to beat the count and somehow managed to see out the rest of the round.
The momentum had shifted to the South African, and early in the fourth round he sent Naidjala to the canvas with a straight left. Naidjala once again got up and recovered well, fighting back with some quick combinations at the end of the round.
With fortunes swaying to and fro, Naidjala once again took the initiative in the fifth round as he knocked down Mzoliso with a big right hook, but he got up and fought back strongly at the end of the round.
The drama continued in the sixth round as Naidjala went down, but the referee ruled that he had slipped. He immediately came back and a cracking right hook 2:13 into the round put an end to the contest as Mzoliso went down and stayed down for the count of ten.
The crowd went crazy, hailing a magnificent performance, and Naidjala was further honoured as he received donations worth N$15 000 from various companies after the fight.
Naidjala is now unbeaten after 13 pro fights and should now improve on his WBO world ranking of eighth.
Ambunda unconvincing against Mbele
In the evening’s main fight, Paulus Ambunda comfortably beat Cleutus Mbele of South Africa on points although his performance was not very convincing.
All three judges scored the fight in Ambunda’s favour – 119-108, 119-108, 17-113, but he hardly dominated as much as the scoreline indicates.
Mbele was far the busier boxer, throwing a steady stream of jabs, while Ambunda looked for one big knockout punch that never landed.
Mbele’s punches though had little effect and as the fight wore on, Ambunda did manage to land some big punches. Mbele however defended well and Ambunda seldom managed to breach his defence.
Mbele went down after a low blow by Ambunda in the third round and the fight had to be stopped for about five minutes to allow him to recover, but once back in action, he continued to jab away.
Ambunda stepped up the pressure in the fifth round, catching Mbele on the ropes with combinations to the body and head but the South African fought back well.
Ambunda looked increasingly frustrated as he tried to land a big bunch but struggled against his southpaw opponent, who kept him at bay with some good body movement and a tight defence.
By the eighth round some of Ambunda’s punches started landing and by the ninth, Mbele’s left eye was swollen closed.
In the final rounds, Ambunda stepped up the pressure with some big combinations but the nuggety South African fought back bravely as the boxers slugged it out toe to toe to the delight of the crowd.
Ambunda is now unbeaten after 19 pro fights and with a WBO world ranking of three, he could soon be in line for a world title fight.
Julius Indongo retained his unbeaten status in the lightweight ranks when he beat Misheck Kondwane of Zimbabwe with a fourth round TKO.
Indongo used his long jab to good effect, raking in the points and by the third round had opened up a big welt under Kondwane’s left eye. The ringside doctor inspected it and allowed the fight to continue but the referee stopped the fight 2:02 into the fourth round as Indongo landed combinations at will.
It was Indongo’s 10th straight victory as a lightweight, while Kondwane now has a record of 19 wins and 19 defeats from 38 pro fights.
Sacky Shikukutu made his long awaited return after a long injury layoff but was given a tough time by Pohamba Mandume in a 65kg catchweight fight over four rounds.
The fight started dramatically with Shikukutu throwing big uppercuts and combinations to the head and body, but Mandume gave as good as he got and slugged it out toe to toe to the delight of the crowd.
Shikukutu continued to land some big shots, looking for a knockout, but Mandume fought back with some great combinations and as the fight wore on, he grew in confidence.
By the fourth and final round Mandume slugged it out toe to toe with Shikukutu to the delight of the crowd.
The crowd, however, was not happy with the result, booing away as it was announced a draw, while Mandume left the ring in disgust.
One judge scored the fight 39-38 in Mandume’s favour, while the other two scored draws – 39-39 and 38-38.
Shikukutu now has a pro record of 13 wins and one defeat, while Mandume’s record stands at 4 wins and 4 defeats.
In a lightweight fight over four rounds Mathias Shimbi beat Hosea Daniel on a unanimous points decision.
The powerful Shimbi landed some big blows and in the second round knocked Daniel through the ropes and out of the ring.
In the fourth round Daniel took two standing eight counts and Shimbi eventually won the fight on a unanimous decision, 37-34, 36-34, 37-35.
The results of other fights were as follows:
Featherweight 4 rounds:
Sakaria Lukas beat Lazarus Namalambo on points, 40-37, 40-37, 40-36.
Junior Lightweight 4 rounds:
Manfred Haimbanga beat Sem Kambonde on points 38-34, 40-35, 38-36.
Welterweight 4 rounds:
Samuel Kapapu beat Nicolla Mutonora on points 40-36, 40-36, 40-36.
AJ “Bazooka” Banal who is looking to challenge for a world title this year should have no problem disposing of Mexico’s Raul Hidalgo when they clash for Banal’s WBO Asia Pacific bantamweight title at the Cebu Waterfront Hotel & Casino on Saturday.
The fight will headline the extremely successful “Pinoy Pride” series which will telecast its 13th edition titled “Road to Glory” on ABS-CBN on Sunday.
The southpaw Banal who is ranked No. 1 by the WBO, No. 3 by the IBF and the WBA and No. 5 by the WBC has a record of 26-1-1 with 19 knockouts while his Mexican opponent Hidalgo has a record of 16-5 with 12 knockouts.
Hidalgo is coming of back-to-back wins beginning with an eight round split decision victory over former world super flyweight title challenger Victor Zaleta who had an impressive record of 19-2 with 10 knockouts on January 28 this year followed by a 2nd round TKO over unheralded Macario Leyva who had a record of 3-8 with 2 knockouts on February 25.
However, Hidalgo was knocked out in the first round of a battle for the vacant WBC International super flyweight title when he made the mistake of engaging Kameda early in the fight and paid the price. The tough Japanese caught him with two shots to the liver and as he agonized in pain referee Manolo Alcocer counted Hidalgo out at 2:20 of round one.
However, with his two recent wins the Mexican warrior is confident he could scuttle Banal’s title bid by beating him. In a statement prior to the Mexicans arrival on Wednesday at 9:45 p.m. in Cebu, Hidalgo said “We Mexicans always fight to win and I will make sure to win in any way possible.”
He said he is “very excited” about the fight and he hopes to “excite the fans when they come to watch us on Saturday.”
Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation flyweight champion Rocky Fuentes takes on Mexican Javier “El Chivero Franco in a ten round bout with the hard-hitting Fuentes favored to win and also step in line for a world title shot since he is ranked No. 4 by the WBO, No. 3 by the WBC and IBF and No. 5 by the WBA behind a record of 32-6-2 with 19 knockouts.
Franco is coming off an eight round unanimous decision over Jorge Garcia who hadn’t won a fight with a 0-2 record according to boxrec.com last March 3 prior to which he scored a 1st round TKO over Luis Carlos Jimenez who had a record of 1-7 with 1 knockout making Fuentes a prohibitive favorite to win.
But just like Hidalgo and most Mexican fighters Franco didn’t back off and promised “I will do what I can to give a grand performance for the fans to remember. I will be going for the win.”
By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Windhoek — The eagerly awaited World Boxing Organization (WBO) Africa title bout between Namibia’s undisputed bantamweight champion Paulus “The Rock” Ambunda and Cletus Mbele, is a confrontation that promises to set tongues wagging for a long time.
Ambunda squares up against the South African challenger in the main bout of the annual Independence Boxing Bonanza at the Windhoek Country Club tonight.
The unbeaten Namibian boasts a remarkable record of 18 wins from the same number of fights since he joined the paid ranks in 2007. He has an unbelievable record of 10 stoppages to his credit and says Mbele will be next on his hit list.
However, the equally impressive Mbele remains unfazed and says he has seen enough of his opponent and believes he has what it takes to bring an end to Ambunda’s dominance in the bantamweight division.
“I know he is very strong boxer but I’m well prepared for this fight and have no doubt in my mind that I will win – come tomorrow (tonight),” said the highly confident 22-year old boxer from Katlehong, south of Johannesburg.
“I’ve been training very hard and I’m fit and my primary aim is to use this fight as a tune-up for my aspirations towards a shot at the world tile. The fact that my opponent has 19 fights under his belt, despite his relatively young age, does not mean anything to me at all,” boasted Ambunda, who unfortunately hit the scale at 53.60 kg – almost 100 grams over the required limit of 53.52 kg.
His opponent tipped the scale at 52.55 kg and was given a clean bill of health by the medical team during the weigh-in and medical check-up yesterday.
The Namibian was required to shed some weight within an hour after the official weigh-in while failure to do so would see him lose 10% of his purse.
Ambunda is without doubt the best bantamweight boxer on the African continent, pound for pound, and should have little problems in adding young Mbele to his long list of casualties.
WBO Bantamweight Interim Champion Imms “Prince” Naindjala and his opponent Lwazi Mzoliso, were given the nod by the medical and inspection team after both boxers passed through the checkpoint without any hindrance.
Entrance fee is N$100 per person and N$10 000 per table seating 10 people.
By Carlos Kambaekwa
Coachella’s Randy Caballero toughed it out to win the NABO bantamweight title against Mexico’s Jose Luis Araiza and Indio’s Omar Figueroa beat Ramon Ayala Friday in a lightweight bout that should have won him a regional title had he made weight.
Caballero (14-0, 7 KOs) expected a tough night, but was surprised by Araiza’s (32-6-1, 23 KOs) experience during the main event of the card at Fantasy Springs Casino before a crowd of more than 1,200 people that included Oscar De La Hoya and James “Buster” Douglas.
Coachella’s Caballero won the fight by unanimous decision but was not satisfied with the victory.
“I wasn’t myself,” said Caballero, 21. “I kept getting caught with those overhand rights.”
A counter right hand followed by a left hook stunned Araiza a bit in round two as the action began to heat up. Caballero seemed more comfortable with his distance and timing.
Araiza landed a few clean shots on the fast approaching Caballero in round three. A left-right combination landed squarely, followed by a short crisp left hook to the jaw in a rather slow round.
The fourth round saw a few good exchanges with a right uppercut sneaking in for Caballero and a four punch combination for Araiza to the body. A long counter right by Caballero was the last clean scoring blow of the round.
Araiza turned things around in rounds six and seven by landing big shots and mixing in blows to the body. Caballero stopped the rally by resorting to the jab in round seven. He also used more distance forcing Araiza to walk in to more punches.
Caballero became slicker with his punches and began to sharpshoot the Araiza. But the last two rounds saw both engage with Araiza landing the overhand rights and Caballero the shorter uppercuts inside.
All three judges scored it for Caballero 97-93 and 98-92 twice, giving the Coachella fighter the vacant NABO bantamweight title.
“It feels good my name is right there now,” Caballero said about winning the title. “But I got to make sure I never make those mistakes again.”
BY DAVID A. AVILA
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.
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.
WBO bantamweight champion Jorge Arce (60-6, 46KOs) has warned the critics to avoid counting him out in a possible September clash against Nonito Donaire (28-1, 18KOs), the WBO’s champion at super bantamweight.
Arce expects to land an undercard position on the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley pay-per-view, which takes place on June 9th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. And then he anticipates a clash with Donaire in September.
“Right now we are taking it step by step, fight by fight. We’ll [move on] to June 9 and then face Nonito Donaire in September – because that’s the fight I want,” Arce said. “A lot of people are leaving me for dead with Donaire, but I have to remind you that [I was viewed in the same light] against Yo-Sam Choi, Hussein Hussein and Wilfredo Vazquez – and you saw how those fights played out.”
“Boxing is about styles and moments. I think Donaire will beat Toshiaki Nishioka if they fight, because [Donaire] is younger and faster. We have seen flaws in Donaire and he showed them in the fight with Vazquez in San Antonio, and that’s where we plan to attack.”
By Salvador Rodriguez
Salvador Rodriguez covers boxing in Mexico for The Record.
WORLD Boxing Organization (WBO) super bantamweight champion Ana ‘The Hurricane’ Julaton said she is not afraid to fight in Argentina when she defends her crown against undefeated Yesica Marcos on March 16.
Julaton (10-2-1 win-loss-draw slate) made the statement a week after her compatriot International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight champion Johnriel Casimero was hurt in a riot in Argentina. The angry fans of his opponent Argentine Luis Lazarte whom he had beaten via 10th round technical knockout mobbed Casimero.
“I’m really excited about fighting in Argentina,” Julaton told examiner.com writer Dennis Guillermo on Friday. “All of it just gets me amped up; it’s really getting me juiced about it. I’m not afraid to fight anywhere.”
Julaton emphasized that real champions do not dodge challenges. “I want to show the boxing world that I will fight anyone, anywhere at any time and will do my utmost to represent the proud Filipino Nation in the great traditions that they come to expect,” she added.
Marcos has 18 wins, 0-loss and a draw under her belt.
Julaton’s promoter Allan Tremblay of Orion Sports Management assured the Filipina boxing star that the WBO would hold the fight in a safe and pleasant venue somewhere in Argentina and that neutral officials would officiate the bout.
“Argentina is a big country,” Tremblay told Guillermo. “That’s just like saying there was a brawl that happened in America.”
Written by : JOSEF T. RAMOS
WBO bantamweight champion Jorge Arce (59-6-2, 45KOs), who returns later tonight against Lorenzo Parra in Mexicali, is hoping to fight again on June 9th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas – as part of the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley pay-per-view undercard.
Arce was hoping to face WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire, but the Filipino star is planning to return on June 16th against another opponent, according to some recent comments from Top Rank’s CEO Bob Arum. If both of them win in June, Arce expects to fight Donaire on a tentative date of September 15th in Las Vegas.
“I have I’ve stolen the show a couple of times on Pacquiao’s events. I did it the first time when I knocked out Hussein Hussein and the last when I knocked out Wilfredo Vazquez. I don’t know if it is confirmed [a spot on Pacquiao-Bradley], but that’s what I know,” Arce said.
MEXICAN Jorge Arce has accepted the challenge of World Boxing Organization (WBO) super bantamweight titleholder Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr. that could possibly takes some time in May or June.
In response to Donaire’s challenge, the 31-year-old Arce (59-6-2 win-loss-draw card with 45 knockouts) also told the 29-year-old Filipino, who recently beat up Wilfredo Vazquez through a 12-round split decision that he’s not Manny Pacquiao.
“It’s a highly anticipated fight [against Donaire],” Arce, the present WBO bantamweight champion, told writer Salvador Rodriguez of boxingscene.com over the weekend. “The people are asking for it because Nonito beat Vazquez, the fighter I knocked out.”
Arce, who will fight on February 18 against Lorenzo Parra in a non-title bout in Mexico, said that he would put Donaire back where he really belongs. If Arce comes out victorious, he will immediately move up to the super bantamweight class to face Donaire.
“I’m not impressed with the way he fights. I have the style to beat him. He says he’s the best of the division and I just say that I’ll beat him. I will demonstrate that he’s not the monster that they say and not a successor to Pacquiao,” Arce told Rodriguez.
But Donaire (28-1 with 18 knockouts), who is now a four weight division champion from flyweight, super flyweight, bantam to super bantamweight, reiterated his claim that Arce won’t beat him.
Written by : JOSEF T. RAMOS
There is only one obstacle remaining for WBO bantamweight champion Jorge ‘Travieso’ Arce. On February 18th, Arce returns to the ring against Lorenzo Parra in a non-title rematch in Mexicali, Mexico. If Arce prevails, he moves up in weight to face WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire. Arce was not impressed with Donaire’s recent twelve round decision win over Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. Prior to move back to bantam, Arce stopped Vazquez Jr. last May to capture the WBO belt at 122.
After finishing the strong part of his training in Los Mochis, which included seven rounds of sparring and hitting the bags, plans to travel to Mexicali on Sunday. Arce says he already agreed to face Donaire next.
“It’s a highly anticipated fight [with Donaire]. The people are asking for it because Nonito just beat ‘Papito’ Vazquez, a fighter I knocked out. I think I have the style to beat him. He says that he’s the best of the division and I just say that I’ll beat him. I will demonstrate that he’s not the monster that they say he is, nor is he the successor to Manny Pacquiao.”
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 BoxingScene.com/Manila 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
Nonito Donaire reportó a través de su cuenta de Twitter que “no tiene fracturas ni huesos rotos” en su puño izquierdo, por lo cual espera que su restablecimiento continúe sin problemas y pueda complacer el plan de su promotor, Bob Arum, para medirse con Jorge “Travieso” Arce en un choque de campeones mundiales reconocidos por la Organización Mundial de Boxeo.
“La sangre fue producto de la piel rota y una vena que se reventó y que también causo inflamación”, aseveró Donaire, quien el sábado se proclamó monarca supergallo de la OMB al vencer por puntos a Wilfredo Vázquez júnior, en San Antonio.
All signs point to new WBO junior featherweight titlist Nonito Donaire fighting Mexico’s Jorge Arce next, as the Filipino’s manager confirmed the news along with a tentative accord with WBC 122-pound boss Toshiaki Nishioka of Japan afterward.
“Arce is next,” Cameron Dunkin told Philippine News’ Truth Esguerra. “We have an agreement already, and he’s got to fight Arce. And we have an agreement in principle with the Japanese guy (Nishioka), so he’s got fights ahead of him. After that we’ll look at [WBA champ Guillermo] Rigondeaux, of course.”
Donaire hurt his left hand early in his split decision win last Saturday over Puerto Rico’s Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., and was scheduled to see a physician on Monday to determine the extent of the injury.
“He’s going to be back soon,” Dunkin added. “Hopefully this hand’s not a big deal, and we see him back in the ring in April or something, I hope.”
By Ryan Maquiñana
Ryan Maquiñana writes a weekly column for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (CSNBayArea.com). He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Panel. E-mail him at email@example.com , check out his blog at www.maqdown.com , or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.