BEFORE taking a shot at World Boxing Council (WBC) minimumweight champion Xiong Zhao Zhong, Filipino challenger Denver Cuello needs to overcome his battle with the weights.
The 25-year-old Cuello is still struggling to meet the 105-lb. limit a day before the official weigh-in for his 12-round title bout with Zhong in Dubai, according to his trainer-manager Aljoe Jaro.
In an overseas call by Spin.ph Wednesday, Jaro bared Cuello is still 2.3 lbs. over the limit.
The weigh-in is set Thursday, while the fight will be on Friday at the World Trade Center.
“Medyo kinakabahan nga ako, kasi bukas (Thursday) na ang weigh-in. Medyo mabigat pa rin siya,” said Jaro as he accompanied the native of Cabatuan, Iloilo in his early morning run.
“107.3 pounds pa rin siya. Medyo mabagal nga ang pagbaba ng timbang niya kaya under strict monitoring namin siya,” he added.
Cuello, owner of a 33-4 record with 21 KOs, has been tabbed a slight favorite against the champion from China, who stands only 4-foot-11 and is making the first defense of the title he won by unanimous decision over Javier Martinez Resendiz in November last year.
Zhong has a 20-4 record including 11 KOs.
“OK na kami sa fight plan, pati sa mga adjustment. Maayos naman na niyang na-i-implement,” said Jaro. “Ito (weight) na nga lang talaga ang problema.”
Jaro said they’ll try to get rid of the excess pounds during their afternoon workouts, since the weigh-in won’t be held until the evening of Thursday.
“Kaya pa naman naming habulin yun. 8 PM (Manila time) pa bukas ang weigh-in eh. Pinagbawal ko na muna kay Denver ang snacks,” said Jaro, adding the fight will be Cuello’s first in the minimumweight in more than a year.
“Last pa niya sa minimumweight `yung kay Ganigan Lopez. Kaya medyo nahirapan sa paghahabol,” he said.
Jaro fought Lopez in May of last year, winning by technical knockout in the second round.
Cuello will be attempting to become the latest Filipino world champion after Merlito Sabillo (World Boxing Organization minimumweight), Donnie Nietes (WBO light-flyweight), and Johnriel Casimero (International Boxing Federation light-flyweight).