WITH a new promotional outfit now handling him, flashy Albert Pagara continues to set his sights on Mexican hot property Emanuel Navarrete down the road.
The 26-year-old Pagara’s dream fight against the hard-hitting Navarette appeared to have gone up in smoke after the native of Maasin, Leyte was among the boxers released by former promoter ALA Boxing when it closed shop two months ago amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the Filipino fighter remained in the frame for a possible showdown with the former World Boxing Organization (WBO) super-bantamweight champion after hooking up with famed boxing and MMA management MTK Global.
Pagara disclosed his signing with the promotional outfit owned by Daniel Kinahan and Matthew Macklin in the Power&Play radio program of former PBA commissioner Noli Eala.
“Naka-pirma na ako sa MTK Promotions. Sila na ang humahawak sa akin ngayon,” said Pagara, the first Filipino fighter to be signed by the company that also holds the promotions rights to Tyson Fury, Billy Joe Saunders, Josh Taylor, Carl Frampton, Terry Flanagan, Jamel Herrin, among others.
That MTK has close ties with Top Rank Promotions, which was a top consideration when Pagara chose to sign up with the firm.
“Madali silang magbigay ng laban. Pagpirma ko pa lang binigyan na nila ako ng laban,” he said.
He was initially booked for a December 5 bout, but Pagara (30-1, 21 KOs) chose to have it moved to January instead.
“Malaki-laki pa ako at magre-reduce pa,” he casually said.
“Maganda ang plano nila sa akin para sa career ko.”
Moving forward, Pagara is looking to face Navarrete in a potentially explosive bout.
“Gigil na gigil ako kay Navarrete, gusto ko siyang labanan at subukan ang galing niya,” said the Filipino, who believes he has a 50-50 chance of beating the Mexican warrior.
Navarrete (31-1-1, 27 KOs) recently relinquished his WBO belt and moved up to the featherweight ranks.
Pagara is determined to follow suit.
“Susundan ko pa rin siya kahit saan siya pumunta,” he said.
Pagara, who began boxing at 15 years old as an amateur fighter at ALA, also expressed his gratitude to his former promoter, the father-and-son tandem of Tony ‘ALA’ Aldeguer and Michael Aldeguer.
“Hindi lang boksing ang tinuro nila sa amin pati na rin sa disiplina (sa sarili),” said Albert, who was with his brother Jason at the Cebu-based promotions for more than 12 years. “Sinasabihan din nila kami na magpundar ng mga gamit at bahay.
“Napamahal na sa akin ang ALA boxing. Diyan na ako lumaki at diyan ako nag improve bilang boxer. Binigyan nila kami ng kapatid ko ng break.”