APART from Nonito Donaire Jr., another Filipino boxer will be taking center stage on July 8 when Sylvester Lopez vies for the World Boxing Council (WBC) super-flyweight championship in Yokohama, Japan.
The little-known Lopez challenges reigning champion Yota Sato of Japan in a 12-round title fight that is easily the biggest in the career of the unheralded Filipino fighter from Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay.
The 24-year-old Lopez carries a 19-3-1 record, with 15 KOs.
He sees action on the same day Donaire, the World Boxing Organization champion, battles reigning International Boxing Federation title holder Jeffrey Mathebula of South Africa in a super-bantamweight unification bout at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.
Lopez has posted five straight victories since a fifth-round technical draw with Juan Jose Montes in Guadalajara, Mexico two years ago. He won all fights by knockout, including an eight-round TKO of Oscar Ibarra in Queretaro, Mexico last September.
Sato, 28, is defending for the first time the 115-lb belt he won over Suriyan Sor Runqvisau of Thailand via unanimous decision at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo four months ago.
The champion, a native of Morioka, Iwate, Japan has a record of 24-2-1, with 12 KOs, and has yet to fight outside his country. He is the former Japanese super-flyweight title holder.