The World Boxing Organization (WBO) announced the officials assigned for this Friday, July 13th bout between Mini Flyweight World Champion Ryuya Yamanaka (16-2, 5 KOs), from Japan, and Vic Saludar (17- 3, 10 KOs), from the Philippines, in a scheduled 12-round match.

The duel will be held at the Central Gym in the city of Kobe, Japan, as the main event of a fight card presented by Shinsei Promotions.

Californian Raúl Caíz, Jr will be the third man in the ring.

Daniel Sandoval, from California, Carlos Ortíz, from New York and Pinit Prayadsab, from Thailand, were appointed judges of the fight.

The supervisor of the fight will be Leon Panoncillo, Jr, Vice President of the Asia Pacific region for the WBO.

For Yamanaka, it will be the second defense of the title he won at the Shiroyama Sky Dome in Japan, on August 27, 2017, by defeating his countryman Tatsuya Fukuhara, via unanimous decision. He then defended the title against Mexican Moisés Calleros, who fell by 8th round technical knockout. For his part, Saludar, ranked third in the WBO at 105 pounds, has held the Asia Pacific and Oriental titles.

Su-Yun Hong-combine2

Female boxing, at least in Asia, seems to have been very slow to kick off after the new year with next to no really notable bouts having taken to place. That’s not to say that we’ve had no bouts but in terms of big bouts, we’ve sadly had nothing. No world title bouts, no OPBF title bouts and no really interesting contender style bouts. It’s been disappointing.

Thankfully on February 9th things change as unbeaten fighters collide in the first Asian female title bout of the 2014.

In one corner will be the defending WBO Minimumweight champion Su-Yun Hong (9-0, 5), who will be seeking the 3rd defense of the title belt she claimed back in June 2012. In the other corner will Japan’s unbeatn Mako Yamada (6-0, 2) who will be taking part in her first title bout of any variety.

On paper this should be an easy contest for Hong. Not only is she fighting at home in South Korea but she’s also the more experienced, more tested, more powerful and so far more impressive. She really should be a clear favourite, though Yamada certainly won’t be a push over.

Despite being the favourite the 26 year old southpaw, defending her belt against a second successive Japanese challenger, will know that she needs to be at the top of her game. Fighters with unbeaten records don’t fight like they want to give up their “0” but will instead do all they can to remain unbeaten, and if they are fighting in a title bout they will do all they can to win the belt as well. This was exactly what Hong did when she was 6-0 herself and went on to beat Teeraporn Pannimit for the title.

Since winning the title Hong hasn’t been the most active
with just 2 defenses, a 5th round TKO over Buangern OnesongchaiGym and a split decision over Mari Ando. Those 15 rounds haven’t been a lot considering she won the title well over 18 months ago, and she may well be suffering from some ring rust if she’s not stayed active in the gym.

Aged 19 Yamada is the young and fast rising jewel of Japanese female boxing. She turned professional back in 2012 aged just 17, and defeated an unbeaten fighter on debut. Since then she has gone from strength to strength scoring a notable 81 second blow out over Yinglek Sithsaithong and an impressive decision over
Mika Iwakawa.

Yamada’s most recent performance, an 8 round decision over Chamagorn Sithsaithong, was arguably her best as she went 8 rounds and controlled the bout whilst acquiring much needed experience over a longer distance. Prior to that bout she had had just 18 rounds experience and really needed to get rounds under her belt. Despite having so few fights however she will feel her activity, 6 fights in less than 2 years, will have served her very well and may active as a very valuable advantage for the challenger.

The reason why Yamada has effectively been fast tracked to a world title fight isn’t her boxing experience but in fact her kick boxing experience. As a kick boxer the youngster ran up an incredible record in the amateurs. She continued in to the pros though appears to be set on making a name for herself as a professional boxer and a victory over Hong would certainly allow her to do that.

If anything will be testing to Hong it’s the “non-boxing” experience of Yamada who was very accomplished in other combats sports. She knows how to look after herself, she knows how to fight and she knows what it feels like to be hit. She isn’t a “19 year old novice” despite what some may think. If Hong mistakes Yamada for a young novice it will bite her.

We however expect Hong to know all about Yamada’s past and know she’s in with a very good rival. If she does show the right respect to Yamada we think Hong will see out some issues in the early rounds, using her straight accurate shots and movement before taking over the bout late on as she moves through the gears and makes Yamada pay for her lack of late round experience. We don’t think the champion will stop the challenger, who is tough, but we do expect the decision to be a clear, though hard fought one.

Had Yamada managed to get a few more 8 rounders under her belt we think that could have made things a lot more interesting though we assume she’ll learn more here, win or lose, than almost any other bout could have taught her.



By Ronnie Nathanielsz –

Jorlie Estrada who challenges WBO minimumweight champion Merlito Sabillo in a breakthrough title fight at the plush Solaire Resort Hotel and Casino in the Entertainment City along Manila Bay on July 13, cannot be underestimated.

Although he has a record of 17 wins, 6 by knockouts with 6 losses, Colombian media has warned that it would be a mistake to underestimate Estrada as an opponent pointing out that he has won his last four fights including back-to-back victories  over Jorge Ballesteros including a 1st round TKO in their first encounter on March 17, 2012.

The 24 year old Colombian’s last loss was to talented Mexican Pedro Guevara who won by a 7th round TKO in a North American Boxing Federation light flyweight title fight on October 22, 2011 when he moved up in weight to face Guevara who gave IBF light flyweight champion Johnreil Casimero a tough battle before losing by a split decision in Mexico last August 4.

In his last fight on June 8 in Colombia, Estrada won by a 3rd round TKO over  Gustavo Cortes, a veteran of 39 fights.

Sabillo made a name for himself in Colombia when he scored a rousing 8th round TKO over highly fancied Luis  “Chino” De La Rosa, also of Colombia who had an impressive record of 21-1 with 12 knockouts.

Colombian media reported “that day the Filipino, almost unknown, showed his great condition and surprised everyone by his speed.

Sabillo, a hard-hitting southpaw is undefeated in 22 fights with 11 wins by knockout.
His trainer, Edito “Ala” Villamor told the Manila Standard that Sabillo has trained hard and is in great shape and is determined to put on an exciting performance as the highly-rated “Pinoy Pride” series of ALA Promotions and ABS-CBN makes its initial venture into the resort hotel and casino complex in the country’s growing entertainment city which aims to give Macau and Singapore a run for their money.–67030


By:  Eddie Alinea –

Manila(PNA) – Newly-crowned World Boxing Organization mini-flyweight champion Merlito Sabillo, plans to stay in the 105-pound division throne as long as he can.

“I will focus hard in training so I can keep my title,” said Sabillo, who in winning the crown, became one of the only three remaining world boxing champions following successive defeats suffered by his more illustrious compatriots Manny Pacquiao, Brian Viloria and Nonito Donaire Jr.

Sabillo knocked out Colombian Luis dela Rosa in the eighth round in his first overseas fight at the Coliseo Mario de León in Cerete, Colombia last March 9. It was for the interim title, and after Moises Fuentes moved up in weight and vacated the crown, the WBO decided to install the Filipino as the new champion.

Sabillo carried his belt as he graced yesterday’s PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate along with his trainer Michael Domingo and ALA Promotions vice president Dennis Cañete.

Cañete said Sabillo will make his first title defense on June 29 in Bacolod City.

“We are waiting for the WBO approval for his voluntary defense before we choose an opponent. But it will be among the top 10 in the mini-flyweight class,” said Cañete.

Sabillo sent Dela Rosa down in the seventh round of the brutal and exciting contest then finished him off in the 2:52 mark of the next round.

“It was an exciting bout and even WBO president Paco Valcarcel was impressed and said Sabillo can become a great champion,” said the ALA Promotions official.

Sabillo is undefeated in 21 fights with 11 knockouts, two of them coming in the first round. But he has what it takes to last as well because three of his wins came in 12-round decisions.

Sabillo, who turned pro when he was 24, is aware of the fact that the Philippines just lost three world titles following successive losses by Manny Pacquiao, Brian Viloria and Nonito Donaire Jr.

He wants to use this as motivation.

“It’s a little sad to see them lose. But that’s sports. You win some and you lose some,” said Sabillo, now ranked among Donnie Nietes (WBO minimumweight) and Johnriel Casimero (IBF light-flyweight) as the remaining Filipino world champions.

Photo- Merlito Sabillo celebrating with trainer Edito Villamor