DONNIE 'Ahas' Nietes and Merlito Sabillo try to cap a big month for Philippine boxing when they defend their respective world titles on Saturday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Nietes battles Sammy 'Guty' Gutierrez of Mexico in a 12-round bout for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) light-flyweight championship in the first special double world title fight to be held in the country in four years.
Sabillo for his part, tests the mettle of Carlos Buitrago of Nicaragua in a WBO minimumweight showdown pitting two unbeaten warriors.
The huge fight card serving as the 23rd edition of the `Pinoy Pride’ boxing series, and presented by ALA Promotions and ABS-CBN Sports, is the final stretch of a four-week spell hat saw Filipino boxers in action.
Nonito Donaire Jr. kicked off the successful campaign with a ninth round stoppage of rival Vic Darchinyan in Houston Texas, before boxing icon Manny Pacquiao highlighted it with a 12-round beating of Brandon Rios in Macau just last week.
Both Nietes and Sabillo vowed to follow suit especially in the wake of the recent devastating calamity that hit the Eastern Visayas region.
“Gusto naman naming mapasaya ang mga Filipino kaya gagawin namin ang lahat para manalo,” said the 31-year-old Nietes shortly after tipping right on the dot (108-lbs) during the official weigh-in Friday at the Robinson’s Galleria.
Gutierrez also came in at exactly 108-lbs.
Nietes, making the third defense of his title, has a ring record of 31-1-4 17 KOs, while his Mexican challenger sports a 33-9-2, with 23 KOs, mark.
Meanwhile, Sabillo tipped the scales at 105-lbs, the same weight of Buitrago.
“Basta makakita ng pagkakataon, subukan natin by knockout,” said the Filipino champion, who like the Nicaraguan (27-0, 16 KOs), boasts of an undefeated record of 23-0, with 12 KOs.
Part of the proceeds of the boxing card will go to ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya for the relief operations of typhoon-hit Eastern Visayas.
Celestino Ruiz will be the third man in the ring in the Nietes-Gutierrez fight, while the three judges scoring the bout are Levi Martinez, Jack Reiss, and Danrex Tapdasan.
Referee for the Sabillo-Buitrago match is Jack Reiss, while the three judges are Joerg Milke, Levi Martinez, and Takeshi Shimakawa.
ALA boxing gym’s other stable of fighters are seeing action in the undercard, among them are Milan Melindo, AJ `Bazooka’ Banal, Jason Pagara, and Jimrex Jaca.
Melindo faces Mexican Jose Alfredo Rodriguez in his comeback fight, Banal takes on Lucian Gonzales of Puerto Rico, Pagara battles Dominican Republic’s Vladimir Baez, while Jaca, who once fought Mexican great Juan Manuel Marquez, meets Indonesian Wellem Reyk.