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
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