THIS Saturday at Pinoy Pride 42, there's a matchup that has the potential to steal the thunder from the main event featuring the junior flyweight championship between Milan " El Metodico" Melindo and Hekkie Budler of South Africa.
It's not even a championship fight but the protagonists involved plus the circumstances that led to it all add up to its mystique.
ALL-FILIPINO. It's not a common occurrence as seldom do we see pinoy fighters of world championship caliber fighting each other for all the marbles but this Saturday, we will see two-time world champion Johnreil Casimero duke it out with Jonas "Zorro" Sultan.
As explained by Casimero' s prolific promoter "Savvy" Sammy Gelloani, the fight came about because of Casimero's decision to move up to the light flyweight division.
As luck would have it, another ward of Gelloani, Jerwin Ancajas won the IBF flyweight title when he defeated Teiru Kinoshita last July.
They looked around for another available opponent among the top contenders but as luck would have it, none of them were available or were willing to fight Casimero under the prevailing circumstances.
Turns out the only one available was another Pinoy, Jonas Sultan.
ZORRO. They call him that because he likes to enter the ring wearing a mask. And just like his namesake, Sultan likes to slice and dice his opponents to smithereens, just like what he did to South African Makazole Tete and fellow pinoy and former world champion Sonny Boy Jaro in his last fight.
At the press conference yesterday, Sultan (13-3, 9 KOs) himself admitted to being surprised when he found out he would be facing another Pinoy in Casimero but eventually got over it and promised the public they will definitely find out who is the better fighter on Saturday.
TREND? Sultan doesn't have the championship experience that Casimero does, but the skill set is definitely there to spring an upset.
For a long time, whenever there was the potential for Filipino boxers to fight each other on the world stage, their promoters have been tiptoeing around each other trying to avoid the clash, owing to the fact that there was a dearth of Pinoy world champions and it seemed counter-productive at that time to fight each other.
But it seems that time is all in the past now.
With so many good Filipino fighters coming up it has become inevitable for them to face each other in the world stage as they often compete in similar weight classes.
In other countries where boxing is also popular like Mexico, Puerto Rico and even the US, compatriots fighting each other for belts is not uncommon.
It's about time we adapt as to do otherwise would be the counter-productive direction as it would stunt the professional growth of our Pinoy warriors.
LAST ROUND. It's on my bro, Atty Ramsey Quijano who recently turned a young, fit and fearless 50. Happy birthday and cheers!
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on September 13, 2017.
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