Yesterday in Leyte notable Filipino fighters had the chance to shine, in really awful mismatches as ALA Promotions tried to keep some of their best fighters ticking over.
One of the notable fighters on this card was former world title challenger Jonas Sultan (16-5, 10), who bounced back from a loss in South Africa to Athenkosi Dumezweni. The skilled, yet often frustrating, Sultan scored a 7th round TKO win over fellow Filipino Salatiel Amit (11-7-2, 8). Sultan was one of two former world title challengers on this card, joined by Melvin Jerusalem (15-2, 9), who also scored a 7th round TKO win as he took out Reymark Taday (9-10-1, 4).
Higher up the card was two promising prospects with their eyes on getting to world level.
One of those hopefuls was Albert Pagara (32-1, 23), who blew away Lucky Tor Buamas (12-4, 12), aka Ratchanon Sawangsoda inside a round. The talented Pagara, who really deserves so much better than to share the ring with Lucky, was fighting for the first time since last November though hardly broke a sweat in getting rid of the over-matched Thai.
The other youngster with eyes on world title glory was Jeo Santisima (18-2, 15), who easily dismissed Alvius Maufani (6-4-2, 3), also in the first round. As with Pagara this wasn't really a bout worth having for Santisima, whilst Maufani has now gone 0-3-1 in his last 4.
Earlier today in the Philippines fight fans had the chance to see two former world title challengers face off in an intriguing match up, courtesy of ALA Promotions who used the bout to headline "Idol 4". The bout in question saw former WBC Minimumweight title challenger Melvin Jerusalem (14-2, 8) take on recent WBA Minimumweight title challenger Toto Landero (10-4-2, 2) in what looked like a really good match up.
Jerusalem, the betting favourite according to Polish betting website STS, got off to a great start landing the cleaner shots and making pay with counters shots Landero misses. Jerusalem on his opening round success with more counters in round 2 as he began to establish a foothold in the bout. Landero seemed to know he was beginning to fall behind and came out with real fire in round 3, as he outlanded Jerusalem and built himself some moment, momentum that failed to really grow as he was unable to keep up the higher work rate in round 4.
Jerusalem managed to re-establish his control in round 5, after a close round 4, but Landero bounced back with a determined body attack in the following round, as he tried to slow Jerusalem down. The hard hitting Jerusalem, who's stamina really impressed us when he fought Wanheng Menayothin, was having none of it and traded blows with Landero in round 7, and Landero looked to continue his body attack but took some massive counter shots in return as Jerusalem realised he could use fire to fight fire, something he did again the following round 3 massive left hooks towards the end of the round.
The final two rounds were both clear ones for Jerusalem, who put the decision beyond any doubt with, the judges scoring the bout 98-92, twice, and 97-93.
This win could open up Jerusalem for another world title fight and despite the loss Landero is still a fantastic fighter who, if he can improve in a few areas, could become a fixture in the world title scene. Sadly however Landero has now lost 3 in a row and really should have a confidence builder next time out.
Tomorrow is a busy day for Asian fight fans with action taking place across a number of countries. Those include the Philippines, where two former world title challengers face off in a very attractive match up, with both looking to move towards a second world title shot.
That match up will see Melvin Jerusalem (13-2, 8) battle with Toto Landero (10-3-2, 2) in a bout that has the ingredients of a really compelling bout.
In the UK this bout hasn't been priced up for gamblers, but it has been in Poland, with STS putting the bout on their list of fights that can be gambled on. We realise most reading this aren't from Poland, but the odds are still interesting, and show the perceived favourite and under-dog.
STS have listed Jerusalem as the clear favourite, at odds of 1.25, the same as 1/4 in the UK or -400 in the US. Landero on the other hand is is 3.2, the same as 11/5 in the UK or +220 in the US.
STS have also priced the up the length of the bout, setting the over/under at 7.5 rounds. The over is seen as the much more likely outcome, being priced at 1.22, the equivalent of 11/50 for UK gamblers or -454.55 for those in the US. The under is 3.4 using the decimal style of odds, which is 12/5 for the traditionalists and +240 for Americans.
Related - Jerusalem and Landero battle in brilliant all Filipino clash! (Preview)
Earlier today ALA held a press conference to announce Idol 4, the next show in their second tier series of cards. The shows isn't a huge one, and is clearly a level behind their premier Pinoy Pride cards, but is still an excellent one set to take place at the Minglanilla Sports Complex in Minglanilla on November 10th.
The main talking point from the announcement was ALA matching together two former world title challengers, Melvin Jerusalem (13-2, 8) and Toto Landero (10-3-2, 2). Although it's not a world title fight it is an amazing match up between two fighters who have ran world champions incredibly close on foreign soil.
In 2017 Jerusalem pushed Wanheng Menayothin all the way in a WBC title fight. Despite losing to Wanheng, and then losing again to Joey Canoy, he is a genuine world class fighter who is almost certainly going to get a second world title fight in the near future. Landero on the other hand came up short to WBA champion Knockout CP Freshmart this past March. This is about as a good of a domestic match up that the Filipino scene could give us.
Another interesting match up on this card will see Esneth Domingo (10-0, 6) risk his unbeaten record against Reymark Taday (9-6-1, 4), in what should be a solid test for Domingo. The 19 year old Domingo, who will be 20 by the time this show rolls around, has been gradually stepping up his competition and this looks to be a very credible step up in class Taday has gone 1-4-1 in his last 6 but is tough and should be a very interesting assignment for the youngster.
One other really good domestic match up will see the highly touted Christian Bacolod (9-0, 7) risk his unbeaten record against Christoval Furog (5-0, 2) in what could turn out to be the bout of the show.
ALA Boxing Gym, the premier promotional outfit in the Philippines, have revealed that their next card in the "Pinoy Pride" line of shows, "Pinoy Pride 44", will take place on June 9th in Maasin City, and although it's not set to feature any world class bouts it does look like a stacked card with name value running through it, and should be a card that generates a fair bit of attention from those involved in it.
The main event is set to feature the popular Albert Pagara (29-1, 20) taking on Ghana's Laryea Gabriel Odoi (20-3-2, 14), who is best known for losing in a Commonwealth title fight to Martin Ward in 2013. Pagara, originally from Maasin City, will be the overwhelming favourite in the eyes of the fans, but Odoi has never been stopped, and has lost only once in his last 23 fights, having rebuilt following a 0-2 start to his professional career. Athlough Odoi is a tough, then again aren't all fighters teak tough, he has only fought once in the last year, and has only fought 4 times in the last 4 years. For Pagara this is a chance to record his 4th straight win following his 2016 loss to Cesar Juarez
Albert will be joined by older brother Jason Pagara (40-3-1, 25), who takes on Indonesian Geisler AP (12-10-1, 9). It's fair to say that 2017 was a year to forget for the once touted Pagara, who went 0-1-1 for the year. In December he suffered a TKO loss to Hiroki Okada and in both of his 2017 bouts he looked like a fighter who really lacked the commitment and fitness to be fighting. Even an off the boil Pagara should have far too much for the visiting fighter here, with the Indonesian fighter having been stopped in every one of his bouts outside of Indonesia.
Former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva (31-3, 17) will be returning to the ring for the first time since his stoppage loss to Luis Nery as he takes on domestic journeyman Renren Tesorio (16-12-3, 4), in what should be an easy comeback fight for the 29 year old.
In another of the feature bouts the exciting Jeo Santisima (15-2, 13) will battle against Thai visitor Yodsingdaeng Jor Chaijinda (16-5, 10) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title. The Thai visitor is 0-5 outside of Thailand is is likely to extend that losing run here against the hard hitting Santisima, who has looked like a real prospect in recent bouts, and will be looking to move into the WBO rankings with another win here. The Thai was riding a 10 fight winning run until recently, with that run ending this past February when he was out pointed by Juan Miguel Elorde, and we suspect he'll now suffer a second successive loss.
Others pencilled in for this card including former world title challenger Melvin Jerusalem (12-2, 7), unbeaten puncher Jeno Macapobre (3-0, 2) and Japanese fighter Go Hosaka (0-0)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!