The best of the shows comes from Cebu where ALA will be running the next in the “Pinoy Pride” cards. Not only is the card a “big name” one but it features a little bit of everything from a recognised champion in a really exciting match up to action involving touted prospects and a major debut for a man tipped as a future Filipino star.
The main event is the world title bout which sees long term WBO Light Flyweight kingpin Donnie Nietes (35-1-4, 21) defends his belt against former unified Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (17-2-1, 11). This is a genuinely mouth watering match up between arguably the best, and most proven, fighter in the division and one of the most promising and battle hardened young fighters on the planet. Credit to both men for getting this one sorted.
In the co-feature we'll see the much touted Mark Magsayo (10-0, 8) attempt to claim his first title. The talented Filipino will be up against Mexico's Rafael Reyes (16-4, 12) in a bout for the IBF Youth Featherweight title. Magsayo has, generally, impressed but this is a much more significant bout than his previous 10 and we expect to learn something new of the 20 year old here.
Whilst Magsayo is the most touted prospect on the card there is a lot of attention being given to Kevin Jake Cataraja (0-0) who makes his professional debut against Ardi Tefa (6-4, 4). From what we've been told the 20 year old Cataraja is expected to progress quickly through the ranks and could find himself in the same position as Magsayo within the the next year or two.
One other prospect on this card worthy of a mention is the heavy handed Vic Saludar (9-1, 7) who has failed to live up to expectation so far. The once touted Saludar will be up against Michael Kaibigan (3-2-2, 2).
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila we have a number of intriguing matches with more Filipino's including a match up that may go down as the best domestic Filipino bout of the year, the card will also feature a pair of former world title challengers and a GAB title fight.
The match up we most like is a 10 round bout for the WBC Youth Super Flyweight title between the unbeaten Jhaleel Payao (11-0, 6) and Michael Dasmarinas (20-2, 13). We've been impressed in the past by Dasmarinas who looked fantastic beating Hayato Kimura last year ans was very unlucky against Lwandile Sityatha. As for Payao he's impressed in sessions working with Ryosuke Iwasa and the reports are that he's a very promising young prospect. We really cannot say enough good words about this one.
Another WBC strap will be on the line as former world title challenger Richard Claveras (12-1-2, 12) looks to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council title against Benezer Alolod (16-7-5, 5). This will be Claveras's first bout since his loss, in a WBC world title fight, to Pedro Geuvara back in April and this is a tough return to action, despite Alolod not holding the most impressive of records.
A third title bout is for the GAB Super Flyweight title as Rene Dacquel (14-4-1, 5) defends his title against Jonas Sultan (8-2, 5). On paper it's hard to side with Sultan but he has looked good recently with 4 straight wins, 3 by T/KO, and was unlucky in his most recent loss. Whilst it's not the best match up on the card it certainly isn't a bad one.
A final title but here will see Rey Juntilla (20-6-4, 13) trading blows with Danilo Pena (26-21-4, 11) for the vacant LuzProBA Featherweight title. We've got to admit we can't see a win for Pena who is now little more than a domestic journeyman, and is 3 years removed from his last win. Juntilla may go on to achieve something more notable, given he is just 25, but we can't see him progressing to the levels that he'd like to get to.
One final bout of note here will see former world title challenger Ardin Diale (28-9-3, 14) take on Indonesian veteran Heri Amol (35-23-4, 14). From what we understand Diale is awaiting to get a shot at the OPBF Flyweight title and will know that a win here really will put him within touching distance of a shot later in the year. It does need saying Amol has lost his last 9, including a defeat to the then debuting Ken Shiro, but is still a decent enough journeyman to get Diale some good rounds.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
Another Filipino show really looks very exciting with some fantastic match ups on a more domestic level.
The most promising fighter on the card is the unbeaten John Vincent Moralde (12-0, 6), who will be fighting for the first time since his tragic bout with Brayd Smith. The unbeaten Moralde has been matched easily here against William George (10-22, 3) in what should be an easy win, but that allows Moralde's handlers to know where he's at in terms of his mental state.
Another very touted young fighter on this card is 20 year old Jade Bornea (3-0, 2), who holds a notable amateur victory over Kosei Tanaka. Bornea will be facing his stiffest test to date as he goes up against fellow unbeaten Salatiel Amit (6-0-2, 4) in what looks to be a very well matched bout. Jade's brother Jake Bornea (9-1, 4) is also in a very good looking bout as he takes on Richard Rosales (9-2-2, 4) in a bout for the WBC Asia Pacific Youth Flyweight title. Jake is highly tipped, like his brother, though it's hard to overlook his 2014 loss to Raymond Tabugon.
One other prospect worthy of note from this card is Jelbirt Gomera (8-0, 5) takes on the highly experienced, though limited Prell Tupaz (8-27-5, 1) in a bout for the PBF Super Bantamweight title. Gomera hasn't received the plaudits of many others but has slowly carved out a promising record and a title win here will almost certainly move him onto bigger fights.
Whilst this card doe feature a lot of prospects one bout stands out as being a truly mouth watering clash. That bout pits former world title challenger Vergilio Silvano (20-4-1, 12) takes on the talented Jetro Pabustan (25-2-6, 7). On paper this is a brilliant fight with the winner almost certainly being moved towards a bigger and better fight whilst the loser will hover around the top of the domestic scene.
It's not in the Philippines that we have a world title as fight fans in Germany get the chance to see WBA Heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev (33-2-1, 20) defending his title against German based Italian born fighter Francesco Pianeta (31-1-1, 17). On paper this looks mouth watering but in fairness Chagaev is not the fighter he once was and Pianeta was made to look like a journeyman in his last notable bout, a 6th round TKO loss to Wladimir Klitschko. Although it's a “heavyweight title fight” it's hard to see anyone even pretending that this features 2 of the divisions top fighters.
One final bout comes from Mexico as Filipino Jhon Gemino (12-3-1, 5) takes on the touted and unbeaten Andres Gutierrez (31-0-1, 22). This is a huge task for Gemino, who has clearly been brought in to lose, but we can't criticise him for taking the fight.
(Image courtesy of ALA Boxing)