AJ “Bazooka” Banal still hasn’t fully found his rhythm following another failed attempt at a world title bid.

Even though he has won back-to-back fights after his knockout loss to Pungluang Sor Singyu for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight belt in 2012, he didn’t look at all like his former self.

However, the 25-year-old Cebuano still has a lot of time to recover and revive his once promising career starting with a 10-rounder with up-an-coming Indonesian Defry Palulu in one of the featured fights in Pinoy Pride 26 – “Fists of the Future” on June 21 at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino.

“This is a make-or-break fight for AJ. Palulu is considered the next big thing in Indonesia. It will be a great fight,” ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer told Sun.Star Cebu.

Banal has won back-to-back fights last year against Mexican Abraham Gomez via a second round stoppage and Dominican Manuel Gonzalez Garcia by unanimous decision.

The 23-year-old Defry Palulu faces his stiffest test to date in Banal and hopes to make the two-time world title challenger his stepping stone and follow the footsteps of his more celebrated countrymen in Chris John and Daud Cino Yordan.

“Yes, I’ve seen some of his (Palulu) fights but it really depends on AJ. He has gone through a lot and if he makes this fight easy then we would move on with our plans for AJ. Everyone wants to see where AJ is right now,” said Aldeguer.

Banal is 30-2-1 with 21 knockouts, while Palulu is 10-0 with nine knockouts.

The main featured bouts are headlined by the Pagara brothers.

Jason Pagara (33-2, 20 KOs) defends his Word Boxing Organization (WBO) International light welterweight strap against Mexican Mario Meraz (20-3, 16 KOs).