ASTON Palicte is looking to overcome the odds as he vies for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) super-flyweight crown against legendary Kazuto Ioka in Chiba, Japan on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old Palicte faces an experienced opponent in Ioka, a three-weight world champion who is expected to have the crowd behind him during the 12-round title bout at the Makuhari Messe Convention Center.
Palicte, however, is unfazed by his underdog status especially after what he went through in training camp for his second shot at a world title.
The former member of the Philippine boxing team held sparring at the Mandaluyong gym and had his strength and conditioning at Focus Athletics in Alabang under coach Jaako Bernardo.
He later trained for over a month at Shape Up boxing gym in Baguio to prepare for the cold Japan weather.
The Filipino already weighs 116 pounds, just a pound over the 115-limit a day before the official weigh-in.
Palicte holds a record of 25-2-1 with 21 KOs. He fought compatriot Donnie ‘Ahas’ Nietes for the vacant WBO super-flyweight crown last year in Inglewood, California in a fight that ended in a split draw.
Just last January, the Filipino stopped Jose Martinez inside two rounds to earn another shot at a world title.
Curiously, Ioka (23-2, 13 KOs), lost to Nietes in a 12-round split decision for the same WBO 115-lbs crown at the Wynn Cotai in Macau on New Year’s Eve.
It was only the second fight for the Japanese after coming off a brief retirement in 2017 after he got married to Japanese pop singer Nana Tanimura and reportedly had a fallout with his father and promoter Kazunori Ioka.