By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Vic Saludar (19-3,10KO’s) is all set for another title defense on the road when he stakes his WBO minimumweight title against mandatory challenger Wilfredo Mendez (13-1,5KO’s) of Puerto Rico.
Saludar’s trainer Jojo Palacios had a short but interesting online chat with this writer about his fighter’s preparations.
“He will be leaving today (Monday) for the long travel to Puerto Rico” Palacios said, “I couldn’t join them because of visa issues. Bobby Villaver will be Vic’s cornerman during the fight. That will not be a problem because Villaver is actually my mentor.”
Villaver is a Filipino-Hawaiian who made waves as a trainer in Thailand years back when he trained Somsak Sithchatchawal - who was then a virtual unknown - who dethroned WBA world junior featherweight champion Mahyar Monshipour of France in 2006.
“Vic’s training went really well, he has no weight problems. He is having regular meals and is just 2.4lbs over after eating breakfast today.” Palacios stated.
Palacios also changed his prediction about the fight. Early in their training camp, he told this writer that he expected a difficult fight But when asked about his boxer’s chances during our chat he said that he was confident that Saludar would win by knockout.
The 28 year old Saludar took the title in Kobe,Japan last July 13, 2018 against Ryuya Yamanaka by unanimous decision. Last February, Saludar successfully defended his title for the first time against Japanese Masataka Taniguchi also by unanimous decision at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
Saludar was a member of the Philippine amateur boxing team. He won a bronze medal in the light flyweight class in the 2010 Asian Games and his brother Rey won the gold in the flyweight category.
The 22 year old Mendez is the WBO number one contender and he holds the regional WBO NABO belt. His only loss happened last year by unanimous decision against Nicaraguan Leyman Benavides in the Dominican Republic.
Saludar vs Mendez will be at the Ballroom of the Centro de Convenciones de Puerto Rico in San Juan on August 24.
Photo – Vic Saludar celebrating his win in Japan
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
WBO number 13 ranked bantamweight contender Vincent Astrolabio (13-3,9KO’s) of the Philippines will defend his WBO Oriental belt against countryman Kevin Aseniero (9-2-1,5KO’s) on the undercard of the WBO interim bantamweight title match between Johnriel Casimero and Mexican Cesar Ramirez.
The fight card will be held at the Fil Oil Flying V San Juan Arena in San Juan City, Metro Manila.
Astrolabio’s ring monicker ‘Asero’ means Steel. The 22 year old from Gen. Santos City started his career with ten straight wins including a road victory against Chinese boxer Ayati Sailike by unanimous decision in Beijing.
Then starting in late 2017, he dropped to 2W-3L. One of those losses was by TKO to Japanese Yuki Strong Kobayashi on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Lucas Matthysse megabout in Malaysia. Astrolabio lost in his return to China by majority decision to Zong Li He in a WBO Asia Pacific junior bantamweight title bout.
But Astrolabio bounced back last April, when he traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia and stopped Indon Patrick Liukhoto in nine rounds for the vacant WBO Oriental bantamweight title. Astrolabio will be defending his regional belt for the first time against Aseniero.
Astrolabio has also been mentioned by Casimero as one of his chief sparring partners in Davao.
The 25 year old Aseniero is from Cagayan de Oro City. He sports the moniker ‘The Bull’. This will be his first shot at a regional title. In his last fight, he beat Japanese Kyota Otsuka by seventh round TKO in Bacoor, Cavite.
Penned to appear on the same card is Charly Suarez (2-0,2KO’s). The 30 year old former Olympian will face Virgil Puton (17-12-2,8KO’s).
will be eventful for Filipino boxing fans. On the same date in Puerto Rico, Vic Saludar will defend his WBO world minimumweight title against Puerto Rican Wilfredo Mendez.
Photo – Vincent Astrolabio winning the WBO Oriental bantamweight title in Indonesia against Patrick Liukhoto.
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
John Riel Casimero (27-W-4L,18KO’s) will be making the first defense of his WBO interim world bantamweight title this August 24 on home soil. His opponent, Cesar Ramirez (18-3,11KO’s) will be fighting out of Mexico for only the second time in his career.
Casimero spent time in Manny Pacquiao’s training camp in Los Angeles when the Filipino senator was preparing for his fight against Keith Thurman. He was one of the many fighters and trainers joining Pacquiao in his now legendary roadwork and training regimen. There is a videos on youtube where Casimero and other Filipino boxers are seen doing plyometrics with Pacquiao.
Casimero is back in the Philippines and a couple of days ago, he posted on social media that he was travelling to Davao.
“I am now in Davao training with Nonoy Neri,” Casimero told this writer. Neri is known for being the assistant trainer for Pacquiao. He also did work a few years ago with Jerwin Ancajas, who is now the IBF world junior bantamweight champion.
“Coach Neri has many boxers that I can spar with,” Casimero added. One of his social media posts shows Casimero sparring with Vincent Astrolabio, the WBO Oriental bantamweight titleholder.
In Ramirez’s last fight, he beat Eddy Valencia by unanimous verdict for the vacant WBC FECOMBOX superbantamweight title. The 31 year old Ramirez’s third career loss happened in the U.K. in 2016 against Ryan Burnett, who is now a former WBA world bantamweight champ. They fought for the WBC International belt with Burnett prevailing by unanimous decision. His other losses were to Mexican prospects Alejandro Gonzalez,Jr and Aaron Alameda.
Casimero vs Ramirez will be in Metro Manila co-promoted by Pacquiao's MP Promotioms. WBO Asia Pacific Vice President Leon Panoncillo will be supervising the contest. This fight is one of the rare times Casimero gets to have a title bout in the Philippines.
The 30 year old Casimero, from Ormoc, Leyte, is a noted road warrior, having previously seen action in eight different countries. He is also known for surviving an infamous ring riot in Argentina in 2012 where he won the IBF light flyweight title against Luis Alberto Lazarte. He captured the IBF world flyweight title in China against Thai Amnat Ruenroeng. Casimero also previously held a WBO interim world title in the light flyweight division which he won in Nicaragua in 2009 against Colombian Cesar Canchila and lost it in Mexico seven months later to Ramon Garcia Hirales.
Casimero only had a title bout twice at home. In 2013 he beat Mexico’s Felipe Salguero by 10th round TKO to retain his IBF light flyweight belt in Makati City. Then in 2014, he lost his IBF belt on the scales when he checked in overweight against Colombian Mauricio Fuentes in Cebu City. Casimero however, stopped Fuentes in round one.
As of this writing, there has been no word as to where exactly will they will hold the title bout in Metro Manila.
Casimero won the WBO interim belt last April in Carson, California by a dramatic 12th and final round stoppage of Mexican Ricardo Espinoza Franco. The regular WBO title is held by South African Zolani Tete(28-3,21KO’s), who has not defended since October 2018.
Tete suffered a right shoulder injury which forced him to pull out of the WBSS bantamweight tournament semis against Nonito ‘The Filipino Flash’ Donaire. The winner of the Casimero-Ramirez fight will face Tete with ninety days.
File photo – Johnriel Casimero training in Manila in 2016.
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