CEBU CITY - Filipino Jason 'El Nino' Pagara took another step toward a world championship with his convincing win over Mexican Aaron 'The Jewel' Herrera in a WBO International light welterweight title fight on Saturday night.
The 22 –year old native of Cagayan de Oro City showcased his boxing arsenal before a packed crowd at the Pacific Grand Ballroom of the Cebu Waterfront Hotel in scoring a unanimous decision victory against the cocky Mexican.
He picked up his 31st win (19 KOs with two losses) in making his second successful defense of his title.
Pagara’s impressive showing was enough to convince ALA Promotions chief executive officer Michael Aldeguer to bring him to the United States next year and train under Bob Arum’s Top Rank outfit.
“He’s getting there (world championship level) but we don’t need to rush things. It will come at the right time and Jason is well on his way to getting there,” said Aldeguer after the fight.
The young promoter bared he will be bringing Pagara to the US next year to train possibly under Roberto Garcia, the same trainer who handles former Filipino world champion Nonito Donaire Jr.
Aldeguer said ALA Promotions and Top Rank have agreed in principle to help develop and provide international exposure to promising boxers from the Cebu-based outfit.
Pagara dropped Herrera with a vicious combination to the head and body in the second round and opened a cut below his eye in the sixth round but could not put away the game Mexican who had his moments in the seventh and eighth rounds when he tagged Pagara with wicked left hooks.
But Pagara was able to sneak in some jarring uppercuts in the times that he managed to sneak past the Mexican's effective lead right jabs.
The judges scored the fight all in Pagara’s favor 115-112, 119-108 and 116-111.
Two other Filipino fighters conquered their visiting rivals in the 20th edition of Philippine Pride boxing series.
Genesis 'Azukal' Servania scored a third-round knockout win over Isack Junior of Indonesia while Jimrex Jaca captured the WBO Oriental light welterweight title with a unanimous decision over a tough Jose Emilio Perea of Mexico.
Jaca survived a cut below his right eye early in the fight to batter Perea, who appeared to be an immovable force despite the onslaught by the Filipino.