JHALEEL Payao defends his World Boxing Council (WBC) Youth super flyweight belt, for the first time, against former title contender Michael Dasmarinas on July 11 in Mandaluyong City.

The 21-year-old Payao, nicknamed the “Cebuano Disaster”, is fighting once again in enemy territory against an experienced fighter in Dasmarinas. But despite the odds, his trainer, Christopher “Ping-Ping” Tepora, is convinced that his young ward will walk out of the ring with the belt still around his waist.

“For me, we should not take him lightly because Dasmarinas is an experienced fighter and also because we are fighting in his territory,” Tepora told Sun.Star Cebu.

Payao has been sparring with hard-hitting Vergilio Silvano and unbeaten youngster Jack Tepora at the Omega Boxing Gym for this fight. Tepora is optimistic about the outcome because of what he has seen in training camp.

“I believe that he (Payao) will win because of what he has shown in training,” he said. “He is really focused in his training.”

Payao snagged the WBC Youth title after dethroning then-titleholder Rene Dacquel by unanimous decision last December in Parañaque City.

Although just a year older than Payao, Dasmarinas is very experienced. He has fought in Japan and South Africa. He beat Hayato Kimura by unanimous decision in Japan and lost to Lwandile Sityatha by split decision in South Africa. He has won back-to-back fights, both knockouts, against Aroel Romasasa and Roy Lagarda.

Payao is 11-0 with six knockouts, while Dasmarinas is 20-2 with 13 knockouts.