Top Filipino pugs Donnie “Ahas” Nietes and Merlito “The Tiger” Sabillo together with three other champions will display their ring prowess in Pinoy Pride 23 on November 30 at the Araneta Coliseum.
ALA Promotion Vice President Dennis Cañete told reporters during the Philippine Sportswriters Association forum on Tuesday in Manila that they decided to hold the event in Metro Manila instead of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“The actual plan was to bring the biggest fight t Dubai but we changed plan because Saturday is a working day in Dubai and most Filipinos can’t watch the fight,” explained Cañete. “In our country, Saturday is not a working day and more Filipinos could watch the fights.”
Cañete said that “Filipinos Kontra Latinos.” Is the theme of Pinoy Pride 23
“Although we have also followers in the Middle East countries, it is right to stage an all-star boxing cast of Pinoy Pride here in our country.”
Sabillo, 29, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) minimum weight champion, will defend his title against undefeated Nicaraguan fighter Carlos Buitrago (23-0 with 12 knockouts).
Sabillo, who successfully defended his title against Colombian challenger Jorlie Estrada via ninth round knockout last July at Solaire Resorts and Casino, holds a perfect 23-0 card with 12 knockouts.
Nietes, 31, the current WBO light flyweight champion, will most likely defend his crown against Colombian knockout artist Gabriel Mendoza (18-2 win-loss card with 15 knockouts).
Nietes has 31 wins against a loss and four draws.
Junior light welterweight WBO international champion Jason “El Niño” Pagara (31-2 win-loss card with 19 knockouts), AJ “Bazooka” Banal (29-2-1 with 21 knockouts) and Milan “El Metodico” Melindo are also scheduled to fight their respective Latino opponents.
Cañete said ALA is still scouting for quality opponents to pit against the Filipinos.
Melindo (29-1 with 12 knockouts) said he really wanted to redeem himself after being unanimously beaten by WBO and World Boxing Association flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada in a title bout in July in Macau, China.
“I’m working hard right now to get another world title shot, so my fight in November will be the first step,” he said. “I’m training hard again to win in November and get my confidence back.”
Josef T. Ramos