Gesta battles Linares for WBA crown today

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United States-based Filipino boxer Mercito Gesta challenges defending World Boxing Association (WBA) lightweight champion Jorge Linares of Venezuela in a world title bout today (Philippine time) at the Forum in Inglewood, California.

After a rigid training regimen under renowned trainer Freddie Roach that started last December 4 at the Wildcard gym, Gesta’s trainer Marvin Somodio said the 30-year-old Cebuano boxer is ready to rumble against the 32-year-old Linares.

“He (Gesta) is in a very good condition and he conveniently got his weight,” said Somodio of his boxer’s 134.8 pounds weight during the obligatory weigh-in of fighters on Saturday.

Mercito Gesta AFP FILE PHOTO

“Gesta’s focus now is already on the fight. He has a good diet and conditioning coach Justin Fortune is also there for him.”


Linares also made it to the lightweight limit after tipping the scale at 135 pounds.

Somodio added that Gesta (31-1-2 win-loss-draw record with 17 knockouts) should be cautious against Linares (43-3 win-loss record with 27 knockouts) especially in the early rounds.

“Linares is explosive from the beginning but in the second half of the rounds, he is not that aggressive,” he added. “Linares though has great combinations especially his uppercut and hook over jab, so Gesta should not let his hands down during the fight. And No. 1, he must be aggressive in using his speed and must deliver a lot of punches.”

Although the seasoned Japan-based boxer is heavily favored to win over Gesta, Somodio said his ward’s main advantage heading to the fight is his durability. Gesta has not been knocked out in his entire boxing career.

“At the same time, Gesta is very determined to win this fight because of his new team under coach Freddie (Roach). It is the best team in the world,” said Somodio.

This is Gesta’s second attempt at the world title after losing his first try against Mexican Miguel Vazquez via unanimous decision last December 8, 2012 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for the International Boxing Federation lightweight belt.

Gesta is coming from a technical knockout win over Mexican Martin Honorio last July 15 in Inglewood.

Last September 23, Linares won against British fighter Luke Campbell via split decision to retain his belt also in Inglewood.

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