NOW it’s Donnie Nietes and Merlito Sabillo’s turn to do their share.
In the wake of victories by boxing stars Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire Jr., both Nietes and Sabillo vow to keep the winning streak going for Filipino fighters as they stake their respective world titles on Saturday against separate Latino opponents in a rare double championship treat at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The 31-year-old Nietes defends his World Boxing Organization (WBO) light-flyweight crown against Mexican Sammy `Guty’ Gutierrez to headline the 23rd edition of the highly-popular `Pinoy Pride’ boxing series.
Sabillo meanwhile, puts his WBO minimumweight belt on the line against Carlos Buitrago of Nicaragua in the co-mainer of the event presented by ALA Boxing Promotions and ABS-CBN Sports.
The top two attractions of the famed ALA boxing gym are looking to deliver on their promise in the hope of sustaining the gains of the recent success of both Pacquiao and Donaire.
“Ganadong-ganado din kaming manalo para sa bansa,” said Nietes during the formal press conference of the fight card on Thursday at the Gloriamaris Banquet Hall at Level 4 of Gateway Mall.
Instead of being pressured to deliver, Sabilo stressed the dominant win of Pacquiao over Brandon Rios and Donaire’s sensational ninth-round knockout of Vic Darchinyan should only inspire them more in the first world title doubleheader at the Big Dome since 2009 when Donaire and Brian Villoria fought in a pair of title bouts.
“Hindi ito makaka-pressure, kundi magbibigay gana pa sa amin na magbigay ng magandang laban,” said the unbeaten Sabillo (23-0, 12 KOs) from Negros Occidental, who’s making the second defense of his title this year.
Nietes, the former WBO minimumweight champion with a record of 31-1 with 17 KOs), said he’s definitely going for a knockout against his opponent from Puebla, Mexico (33-9, 23 KOs).
“Go for knockout ako,” said the 31-year-old Nietes, who was held to a majority draw by Moises Fuentes in his last title defense eight months ago at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu.
Gutierrez, 27, didn’t promise to knock out the champion, but said he’ll win the title.
Given the opportunity, Sabillo said he’ll go for a knockout, saying, “pag may pagkakataon, 'yan talaga ang gagawin ng isang boxer.”
Buitrago, only 21, said he’ll be in the "most important fight of his life," while adding he’s in very good shape.
ALA boxing gym’s other stable of fighters are seeing action in the undercard, among them 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.
Official weigh-in for the entire fight card is set on Friday at the 4th floor of the Robinson’s Galleria beginning at 12 noon.