Sabillo took up boxing to battle crippling povertyBy Rene Bonsubre Jr.
Cebu Daily News
Merlito Sabillo is back from his sensational world title victory in Colombia last March 9. Sabillo (21W-0L, 11KOs) beat Luis dela Rosa (21W-2L-1D,12 KOs) by 8th round TKO to win the vacant WBO interim minimumweight world title.
After a grueling flight back home that lasted more than 50 hours, Sabillo and trainers Edito Villamor and Michael Domingo went on a media tour, visiting the major media outlets in Cebu including Cebu Daily News where he was mobbed by the CDN staff who posed with the new champ for photos.
“Lisud kaayo ang akung away, pahudtanay ug kaisug, bell to bell,” Sabillo said. (It was a very difficult fight. We had to show who was the braver fighter.) “I am very happy with this win. I am happy knowing that our countrymen are happy. My hard work in the gym has borne fruit.”
“I would like to thank my trainers Edito Villamor and Michael Domingo for their help. I would like to thank the Aldeguer family for helping me.”
The 29 year-old Sabillo also talked about how he got his start in the fight game.
“I started late in boxing. I was 19 years old when I started as an amateur. I was in vocational school, studying to be a practical electrician but my parents were poor. I wanted to help them. So I tried sports.”
“I actually tried different sports,” Sabillo recalled. “I tried basketball, played in a junior league but I was too small. I tried BMX biking but getting a good bike and spare parts were expensive. I also tried karate, I got a silver medal in one tournament. I only had a few amateur boxing matches, 8 or 9 fights, before turning pro.”
“Manny Pacquiao inspired me to box,” Sabillo disclosed. “Ten years ago, I heard Pacquiao was fighting in the U.S. This was his fight against Emmanuel Lucero, I also wanted to fight and earn money.”
“Mr. Antonio Aldeguer has been helping me for a long time even when I was still a four rounder,” Sabillo said. “I even had a chance to train in Bohol in their gym. ALA gave me my first big break when I fought for the OPBF title.”
Last October 8, 2011, Sabillo beat countryman Rodel Tejares for the OPBF minimumweight title in Bacolod City. This was Sabillo’s first appearance in a big Pinoy Pride card and was also on the undercard of the WBO world title fight between Donnie Nietes and Ramon Garcia Hirales.
Inspired by his initial success, Sabillo trained harder at the ALA Gym in Talamban and he would fight twice at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel last year beating Soffyan Effendi of Indonesia by unanimous decision and Jovel Romasasa by first round knockout.
“Hard training and focus, no barkada, and God’s help,” he said, is the secret of his success.