AWARE of his Colombian challenger's threat that he won't go the distance in their World Boxing Organization title fight, world minimumweight champion Merlito Sabillo is more than ready to find out what Jorle Estrada will exactly be bringing to the ring on Saturday night.
Sabillo said the 24-year-old native of San Pelayo, Colombia better be ready for the 12-round bout at the Solaire Resort and Casino Hotel or else the champion will make him eat his words.
“Tingnan na lang natin sa itaas ng ring. Tingnan natin kung talagang mapapabagsak niya ako sa seventh round para malaman natin sino ang nagsasabi ng totoo,” said Sabillo, 29, during the press conference for the world title bout on Thursday.
The challenger was bold enough to say the Filipino won’t last the distance when he appeared in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday, predicting Sabillo will fall in the seventh round.
Estrada didn't make another knockout predication during the presser, but nonetheless stressed he’ll be going back home carrying the WBO belt.
“I can beat the Filipino champion. I definitely want to bring home the title,” said Estrada (16-6, 5 KOs), rated No. 6 by the world boxing body, through an interpreter.
The match serves as the main event of `Pinoy Pride XXI: When Worlds Collide’ presented by ALA Promotions and giant network ABS-CBN. ALA boxing president Michael Aldeguer, ABS-CBN Sports vice-president Peter Musngi, Solaire chief operating officer Michael French, and WBO Asia-Pacific vice-president Leon Panoncillo were among those who attended the event.
It will mark the first time Sabillo will be making a title defense, the first time he will be headlining the popular boxing series, and the first time he’ll be fighting in Manila, making him a little bit uneasy heading into fight night.
“Excited at tense. First time ko kasi lumaban dito sa Manila,” said the native of Bacolod City, unbeaten in 22 fights, including 11 by KOs. “Medyo may pressure ng konti, pero ako na bahalang mag-adjust sa ring. Pag pinag-pawisan na ako (sa ring), siguro mag-settle down na rin ako.”
In the main undercard, unbeaten King Arthur Villanueva clashes with dangerous Arturo Badillo of Mexico for the WBO Asia-Pacific super-flyweight championship. Villanueva holds a 21-0 record with 11 KOs, while Badillo is 20-1, but 18 of them coming inside the distance.
“Tingin ko kaya ko `yung style ni Badillo,” said Villanueva, unmindful of the Mexican’s knockout power.
Former world title challenger AJ `Bazooka’ Banal also makes his comeback attempt in the fight card by taking on Abraham Gomez of Mexico in a 10-rounder, while Prince Albert Pagara battles Khunkhiri Wor Wisaruth of Thailand in an eight-rounder.
Others seeing action are Jessel Magsayo against Jamjam Ungon, Elmo Traya versus Diover Mangaya-ay, Brian Lobitania against Gilbert Donasales, and Juanito Hundante versus Vic Saludar in his pro debut bout.