Banal grateful for second chance, vows to win titleBy Calvcin D. Cordova
Cebu Daily News
Pasay City – For AJ Banal, the mere chance of fighting again for a world title is already a blessing. But the 23-year-old boxer also knows he has to deliver now. Second chances don’t come too often after all.
Banal tries to exorcise the ghost of a bitter loss as he takes a second crack at a world title when he battles Thailand’s Pungluang Sor Singyu for the vacant WBO world bantamweight title in the main event of tonight’s Pinoy Pride 17: Philippines vs The World at the spanking Mall of Asia Arena.
The hard-hitting boxer from barangay Ermita, Cebu City has been itching for this time to come and prove that he is worthy of the second chance.
“I am lucky that the ALA Promotions continue to trust me. I’ve been praying hard for this time to arrive and I vow to finally win a world title,” said Banal who claimed that a lot has changed since his loss to Panamian Rafael Concepcion in October 2008 in Cebu City for the interim World Boxing Association super flyweight title.
“I was immature then. All I was after then was to impress the crowd by scoring knockouts. I’ve learned my lessons and they’ll be seeing a different AJ against Sor Singyu,” said Banal.
Not only as a boxer, Banal said he has become a better person because of his family.
“I am drawing strength from my family. I have two children now. They are my inspiration and this fight is for them,” he said.
Banal’s wife Junbeth and two-year-old daughter Alexeth Jean will be on hand to watch the most important fight of the boxer’s career so far.
BANAL IS READY
“It’s now or never for him (Banal). He waited for four years for this fight to come. I think he’s ready both mentally and physically,” said Michael Aldeguer, President/CEO of ALA Promotions.
“We are confident of winning. You can see in his body that he really trained hard,” said ALA Gym founder Antonio Aldeguer.
How hard he worked in the training showed in yesterday’s weigh-in at the Mall of Asia Arena as Banal (28W-1L-1D, 2O KOs) was on the dot by tipping the scale at exactly 118 pounds.
Sor Singyu (42W-1L-27KOs) was a pound heavier in his first two attempts. He finally made it in his third try after doing a few rounds of jogging at the MOA grounds.
Michel Do said Sor Singyu weighed at 118 in the morning using a different weighing scale.
“Shedding the extra pound was nothing. There won’t be no effect. I’m confident of winning,” said Sor Singyu, who vowed to stop Banal within six rounds.
Banal and Sor Singyu are both on a hot streak going into the fight.
The Cebuano boxer has won his last 11 fights, while the Thailander is on a 19-fight winning streak.
Banal is also out to stop Sor Singyu’s dominance of Filipino boxers after beating 14 of them.
BAUTISTA FOE FAILS TO MAKE WEIGHT
Meanwhile, Rey “Boom-Boom” Bautista (33-2, 25 KOs) easily made the featherweight limit of 126 pounds but his Mexican opponent Daniel Ruiz (27-5-2, 19 KOs) was three pounds overweight.
Ruiz spent 45 minutes at the sauna but still failed to make the weight limit.
With this, a win by Bautista will earn him the vacant WBO International featherweight title. The title will be declared vacant should Ruiz wins. The Mexican fighter will also wear thicker gloves as a penalty.
Jason “El Niño” Pagara (29-2, 18 KOs) and Miguel “Hands of Stone” Antoine (17-0-1, 9 KOs) of Barbados both weighed 140 lbs. At stake is Pagara’s WBO International jr.welterweight title
Michael “Bruce Lee” Domingo (44-16-2, 23 KOs) weighed in at 120 lbs while Uganda’s Mudde Ntambe Rabison (19-2-1,7 KO’s) tipped the scales at 118 lbs for their non-title fight.