3 Bacolod boxing champs to fight in the US

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013


THREE boxing champions from Bacolod City are scheduled to fight tentatively in the United States this coming July, Games and Amusement Board Chairman Juan Ramon "Monju" Guanzon said in a press conference at his house on Friday.

WBO light flyweight titlist Donnie 'Ahas' Nietes, newly-crowned Interim WBO minimum eight champion Merlito 'Tiger' Sabillo, WBO-OPBF super flyweight holder Genesis 'Azukal' Servania were presented with ALA gym trainer Edmund Villamor and MKK standard bearer and former Bacolod Representative Monico Puentevella in attendance.

Bacolod boxing champs
WORLD CHAMPIONS. (Second from left) WBO Lightflyweight titlist Donnie 'Ahas' Nietes, newly-crowned WBO Interim-Minimumweight champion Merlito 'Tiger' Sabillo and WB-PBF Superflyweight holder Genesis Azukal' Servania during Monday's press conference. (Contributed Photo)

The 30-year-old Murcia native who grew in Bacolod, Nietes said that ALA gym's boss Antonio 'Bidoy' Aldeguer told them that they might fight in one card three months from now.

Nietes (31 victories, a loss, 4 draws with 17KOs) said that this event will serve as his tune-up for the possible rematch with WBO minimum weight champion Moises Fuentes of Mexico in November.

Both fighters ended their March 2 fight on a majority draw at the Pacific Grand Ball Room of the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino. American judges Adalaide Byrd and Patrick Russell scored the fight 114-114 while Danrex Tapdasan of the Philippines, gave it to Nietes 115-113. The Filipino lawyer's decision was unpopular and got negative reaction from the Mexican camp.

When asked why he preferred fighting in Cebu and other places than Bacolod, Nietes admitted that he felt greater pressure fighting before the home crowd. "It's maybe, because I'm not used to fight with my fellow Negrenses watching me. It's mind-setting. But if ever, given the chance to stage one of my future fights here, I assure you things will be different," the WBO lightfly champion explained.

As for the Toboso-born and Bacolod-raised Sabillo (21 wins with 11 KOs), he said he is very thankful that years of sacrifices, his all-out efforts paid off.

"I'm very happy that our Lord granted my prayers to be a world champion. My gratitude to our countrymen who continued to pray and supported all the Filipino boxers' fights here and abroad", he added.

When asked if he felt the same pressure as what Nietes experienced, the 29-year-old titlist replied, "not at all." "I won most of my fights here, from the Philippine Championship belt to OPBF title, so I'm used to fight with hometown fans."

Sabillo also shared that he strove hard to win every fight to help his family. "At first, all I thought was to win my fights and earn money to help my family pay our debts. But I realized that my purse from those victories were not enough to pay our accounts. I told myself later that I have to be an OPBF champion to be able to clear those indebtedness.

"But, still it wasn't enough. So, finally I decided to train harder and be a world champion. Thank God it's already here and slowly, I'm able to contribute to finally solve my family's financial burden. In order to achieve our goals in life, we must have self-discipline, hardwork, and above all, have faith in the Lord," the WBO minimum weight champ concluded.

Sabillo stopped Colombia's pride Luis de la Rosa in round eight of their scheduled 12-rounder last March 9 to seize the interim WBO minimum weight title at the Coliseo Mario De Leon Cerete in Cordoba, Colombia.

Servania, who hailed from Barangay Pta. Taytay, has kept his unblemished record of 19 wins, 7 of which by way of knockout, after beating veteran Indonesian Angky "Time Bomb" Angkotta via a 7th round knockout in the main undercard of the Nietes-Fuentes fight last March 2.

Guanzon cited that all three started their boxing career with the Negros Amateur Boxing Association (Naba). The Naba president said that he can't recall any instance in his 56 years in boxing that Bacolod has three pro-boxing champions at the same time.

"This is very important for me and we're very happy about it because three of the world champions by trained and promoted ALA stable, which is well-known in Asia, all came from Bacolod," he stressed. "We all know that the first world champion from Bacolod is Donnie (Nietes) followed by Sabillo and Servania, whom in a matter of time will also be a world champion," he added.

"I just discovered that Sabillo also had a short stint as an amateur boxer because most of his experience came from street fighting at the Central (public) Market," the GAB head jokingly told the press.

"Servania, on the other hand, is the grandson of our longtime family chef - but, likewise started his amateur boxing at Naba. He was discovered after winning a title in the 1st Golden Gloves Monico Cup Inter Barangay Amatuer Boxing Tournament in 2008 while Donnie came from a family of boxers," he added.

Puentevella, meanwhile, said that this is a rare occasion in boxing history that Bacolod City was able to produce three Filipino boxing champions at the same time.

"We salute all of them for their achievements as well as giving pride and honor to the city. We are looking forward that all these three boxing champions will also be fighting here in Bacolod," the Puentevella added.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 26, 2013.

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