AJ `Bazooka’ Banal was inconsolable after his shocking ninth-round technical knockout loss to Pungluang Sor Singyu of Thailand in their world bantamweight championship fight on Saturday night that he wants no less than an immediate rematch.
“Rematch…na,” said the 23-year-old Banal in between sobs inside the Filipino’s funeral-like dugout at the Mall of Asia Arena.
His lovely wife Junbeth tried to comfort him, and later on ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer, all to no avail.
Banal came just short of blaming veteran referee Tony Weeks for prematurely stopping the fight at the 1:45 mark of the ninth round even if the Thai had already floored him twice behind a barrage of solid punches.
For Banal, that cost him his bid to win the World Boxing Organization 118 lbs. title.
“Kaya ko pang bumangon. Siyempre, mag-stop ako (after the knockdown) para mag-focus ako sa laban tapos bigla ini-stop ng referee,” said Banal with his head bowed.
Aldeguer spoke on `Bazooka’s behalf when ALA boxing’s top fighter suddenly fell silent.
“He (AJ) felt it shouldn’t have been stopped. But Tony Weeks felt it was the right to stop it,” said Aldeguer.
“But sayang. In round eight, AJ threw the combination that we wanted. He followed the fight plan to the letter,” said the son of eminent boxing executive Tony Aldeguer, obviously referring to the two-punch combo dished off by Banal that wobbled Sor Singyu prior to the decisive round.
The WBO title being vacant, there was no rematch clause in the fight contract signed by both fighters.
Even then, Aldeguer said he’s also looking forward at a possible return bout.
“Hopefully we’ll try to see if we can arrange a rematch,” said Aldeguer, who was in talks with ABS-CBN vice president for sports Peter Musngi shortly after the match. “We’ll talk with One Songchai Promotions (Thailand) and talk to AJ after a few days.”
Aldeguer admitted the huge cut on Banal’s right eye was a big distraction, saying,”AJ was disturbed with the cut. Sometimes, it’s hard to see pag merong cut.”
But the gentleman that he is, the ALA executive gave credit to Sor Singyu for the win.
“He could take the punch of AJ. You have to give it to him. He kept coming back,” said Aldeguer. “But you know, that happens. We lost it.”