Banal’s time to vie for a world titleBy Dale G. Rosal
Cebu Daily News
ALA Boxing Promotions chief Michael Aldeguer said 23-year-old WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion AJ “Bazooka” Banal deserves a shot at a world title.
“I think this is the perfect time to give him a shot at a world title,” said Aldeguer of his 23-year-old ward, who is the No. 1 contender in the 118lb division. “I have seen AJ mature through the years. He changed a lot and has been focused more on his training after he suffered his first loss to Rafael Concepcion in 2008.”
Banal, who sports a 26-1-1 (win-loss-draw) record with 19 knockouts, will be pitted against 24-year-old No. 2 contender Pungluang Sor Singyu (41-1, 26KOs) of Thailand for the vacated WBO bantamweight title scheduled between the last week of September or the first week of October. Aldeguer is still negotiating with Thailand’s One Songchai Promotions for the fight’s official venue.
“I want the bout to be held here. But wherever the venue will be, I know Banal will be ready.”
Aldeguer also added that Banal is very excited about the fight and started training last month. Banal was initially offered by IBF to fight for the 118lbs title against African Vusi Malinga. But plans changed after Aldeguer was given a go signal from WBO to negotiate for the WBO bantamweight title.
“We know that Thailand is not that safe for our boxers. But whatever happens, Banal will still fight for the title.” added Aldeguer.
Banal’s last victory was in Cebu last March, when he knocked out Mexican Raul Hidalgo in the first round to defend his WBO Asia Pacific bantamweight crown. Since his loss to Concepcion in 2008, Banal has gone on a 10-bout winning streak.
Meanwhile, a fight between two Filipinos will likely happen this year as WBO Intercontinental flyweight champion Milan “El Metodico” Melindo (27-0-11) is now considered a mandatory challenger against Filipino WBO world flyweight champion Brian Viloria.
Melindo’s shot for the world title was formalized after he beat no. 7 contender Jesus Geles of Colombia last June 2 in Manila.
“We received word to start negotiations of the Viloria-Melindo bout from WBO. I know that it’s hard to accept that two Filipino boxers will fight but that’s what will happen in the end. We can’t avoid this,” said Aldeguer.
Viloria won against Mexican Omar Nino Romero in their third encounter to defend his WBO flyweight title and improve his record to 31-3 with 18KOs.