(10/20/2012) AJ Banal vs. Pungluang Sorsingyu

Date: October 20, 2012

WBO Bantamweight Championship Title Bout

Location: Manila, Philipines

Promoter: ALA Promotions

Supervisor: Leon Panoncillo

Referee: Tony Weeks

Judges:  Robert Hoyle (74-77), Raul Caiz Jr (76-75), Levi Martinez (76-75)

Result: Sorsingyu won by Split decision. Banal deducted a point in Round 6 for repeated low blows and was down once in Round 9.

Banal vs Pungluang por Titulo Gallo OMB

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MANILA, Filipinas  –  Campeonato mundial gallo de la OMB en juego en tres semanas.  El Filipino AJ “Bazooka” Banal y el Tailandés Pungluang SorSingyú disputarán el vacante título regular gallo de la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB) el próximo 20 de Octubre en el SM Mall of Asia Arena aquí en Manila, Filipinas, informo la empresa de boxeo ALA Promotions a Notifight.

La última vez que el titulo mundial gallo de la OMB estuvo en la palestra fue hace casi un año cuando Jorge “El Travieso” Arce lo ganó al vencer por decisión al indonesio Angky Angkota en Mazatlan, pero el cinturón nunca fue defendido y eventualmente El Travieso renuncio a él hace medio año.

Banal y Pungluang son los más altos clasificados en la OMB, siendo Banal el #1 y el Tailandes el #2.

Sin embargo, el mejor libra por libra en la división de las 118 libras es el panameño Anselmo “Chemito” Moreno, super campeón gallo de la WBA.

Con 10 defensas exitosas, Moreno subirá a los super gallos a retar al invicto tapatio Abner Mares el 11 de Noviembre en el Staples Center en Los Angeles, California.

FILIPINO AJ “BAZOOKA” BANAL

AJ “Bazooka” Banal ya disputó una corona del mundo.   Fue hace cuatro anos cuando enfrentó al ya retirado panameño Rafael “El Torito” Concepción por el vacante titulo interino super mosca de la AMB, siendo embestido por el Concepción.

Al inicio del décimo round Banal iba galopando por adelante por mas de cuatro y seis puntos en las tarjetas oficiales, de hecho recetándole una lluvia de cuero al canalero.  Pero “El Torito” Concepción nunca cedió y con golpes a la sección media noqueo a Banal ante el asombro y silencio de los Filipinos.

Lejos de amilanarse, Banal ha demostrado tesón y compromiso con el deporte del boxeo, cosechado triunfo tras triunfo, incluyendo victorias ante los mexicanos Mario “Maca” Briones, Cecilio Santos, “El Bule” Hidalgo y Pepe Beranza y a sus 23 anos años es el campeón Asia-Pacifico de la OMB.

En su último combate realizado en Julio, Banal supero al mediocre indonesio de 19 años Rubén Manakane en amplia decisión unánime, pelea en la que el indonesio corrió y rehuyó fuego durante los ocho rounds de acción.

Banal es un peleador zurdo de buen boxeo y aceptable velocidad quien prefiere el combate a la media distancia, pero no rehuye el golpe por golpe si es necesario.   Sin embargo prefiere la pelea de forma técnica sin exponer mas de lo realmente necesario.  Fue así como venció al espigado Mario Briones, un buen peleador original de Aguascalientes.

TAILANDES PUNGLUANG SORSINGYU

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En tanto, el tailandes Pungluang SorSingyu (42-1, 27KO’s), de 24 años, ha sido campeón mundial juvenil del Consejo Mundial de Boxeo (WBC), título que defendido exitosamente en cinco salidas, perdiendo finalmente el cinturón en su sexta defensa en apretada decisión dividida ante el entonces invicto Stephane Jamoye en Bélgica.

Pungluang, quien viene de noquear al Filipino Ricardo Roa en Julio, es el actual campeón juvenil Asia-Pacifico y a la vez que titular interino oriental de la OMB, cetro que ha defendido en tres ocasiones.

El Tailandes, quien pelea con la guardia diestra, es dueño de un muy buen jab que parece un recto de izquierda por su solidez y poder, el cual lanza con insistencia y habilidad.

Fue con esa arma letal que le reventó la retina al Filipino Marvin Tampus, pelea de titulo regional en Petchaburi, Tailandia presenciada en primera fila por Notifight.

El Banal-Pungluang es sin duda un buen combate de pesos gallo, división en la que reinaron inolvidables grandes del boxeo mundial como Carlos “El Cañas” Zárate, “El Puas” Rubén Olivares, Jorge “El Mocho” Lujan, Alfonso Zamora, Eder Jofre, Chucho Castillo y el inmortal Alfonso Teofilo Panamá Al Brown.

Miembro del Salón de la Fama, Panamá Al Brown, originario de Colon, Panamá, media 1.80m de estatura y era rápido y letal como el rayo.  Gano el campeonato mundial gallo en Nueva York en 1929 alcanzando el honor de ser el primer campeón del mundo nacido en Latino América.    Es considerado por algunos historiadores como el mas grande peso gallo.

EN LA PRELIMINAR:  EL CAÑERITO DIAZ DE LOS MOCHIS VS BOOM BOOM BAUTISTA DE FILIPINAS

En el combate preliminar a 12 rounds, el Mexicano Daniel Diaz enfrentara al clasificado mundial Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista de Filipinas por el cetro internacional pluma de la OMB.

El mexicano Diaz no esta clasificado, pero “Boom Boom” Bautista es el pluma #4 en la FIB y #11 en la OMB.

Bautista ha doblegado a peleadores latinos como El Cuate Ruiz, Miguel Angel Mendoza, Edén Márquez, Alejandro Barrera, Genaro Camargo, pero cuando le toco enfrentarse al bravo Daniel Ponce de León, cayo fulminado en el primer round.

El Ponce lo masacro en la primera vuelta en Sacramento, California.

Sera la gran oportunidad para que “El Cañerito” Diaz de Los Mochis, Sinaloa logre un importante triunfo en tierras extranjeras luego que su intento en Australia en Mayo pasado no saliera como el planeaba cuando el estadio en el que enfrentaba al invicto local Will Tomlison se quedara sin corriente eléctrica.

La luz no regreso al Melbourne Pavilion por lo que en la obscuridad hubo que irse a las tarjetas.   Lamentablemente, el Sonorense iba abajo en puntos y se decreto una decisión técnica a favor el Australiano.

Daniel Diaz solo espera que la corriente no se vaya también en Filipinas para que Los Mochis logre un triunfo resonante en la tierra de Manny Pacquiao.

La cartilla del 20 de Octubre es una producción de ALA Promotions que sera transmitida en diferido por el canal de televisión filipino ABS CBN y Notifight estara presente.

FOTOS POR:  CARLOS COSTA, EDITOR ASIA DE NOTIFIGHT
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Poster del AJ Banal vs Pungluang SorSingyu por el vacante Titulo gallo de la OMB

Por: Carlos Costa

http://www.notifight.com/artman2/publish/Resultado_2/Banal_vs_Pungluang_por_Titulo_Gallo_OMB.php

Pungluang Sor Singyu training for a war with AJ Banal

Pungluang Sor Singyu (42-1, 27 KO’s), Thailand’s No. 2 world ranked bantamweight is training with the Army in the ChoNburi province in preparation for his battle for the vacant WBO bantamweight title with No.1 ranked AJ “Bazooka” Banal (28-1-1, 20 KO’s) on October 20.

The title fight will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena along Roxas Boulevard and will be telecast by the giant broadcast network ABS-CBN over Channel 2.

Siraphop Ratanasuban, vice president of the  of the huge  OneSongchai Promotions outfit in Thailand told the Manila Standard that Pungluang “is now training very hard” in an army facility in Chonburi province and is being trained by a former Pan Asia Boxing Association champion whose name he did not mention.

He said Pungluang is sparring with several Thai boxing champions.

Ratanasuban described Pungluang as “a  fighter with a big heart and very disciplined.”

Banal has also been training rigorously for his second chance at a world title having lost by a stunning 10th round knockout to Rafael “El Torito” Concepcion in a bout for the WBA super flyweight Interim title in Cebu on July 26,  2008 while leading on the scorecards of all three judges at the time of the stoppage.

Banal has won eleven fights in a row since the loss to Concepcion. He is coming off a comfortable eighth round unanimous decision over Ruben Manakane in a tune-up fight last July 21 in Dumaguete City.

Pungluang is coming off his own tune-up fight last July 26 in Thailand when he defended his WBO Oriental title with a 5th round TKO over Filipino Ricado Roa.

Ronnie Nathanielsz

http://www.boxingscene.com/pungluang-sor-singyu-training-war-with-aj-banal–57241

ALA Stars to go on nationwide provincial tour

ALA Promotions is set to embark into a Philippine-wide tour starting this November.

People from the provinces all over the Philippines will finally get the opportunity to meet the ALA Stars Two-division World Champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes, WBO World # 1 and world championship bound AJ “Bazooka” Banal, IBF World # 4 Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista, WBO World # 1 Milan “El Metodico” Melindo, WBO International Jr. Welterweight Champion Jason “El Nino” Pagara, WBO Asia Pacific Champion Genesis “Azukal” Servania and WBA #2, WBA and WBO # 3 Rocky Road Warrior” Fuentes will take part of this tour in selected provinces throughout Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

ALA STARS PROVINCIAL TOUR is part of ALA Promotions way of giving back to the nationwide boxing fans that have supported the ALA Boxing Stars and have successfully made the Pinoy Pride boxing series featured on ABS-CBN Channel 2 the number 1 Sunday daytime television program for the 5th straight time.

The Pinoy Pride boxing mega series on television has beaten regular Sunday daytime ratings frontrunners, ASAP 2012, Kapuso Movie Festival, The Buzz and other celebrity driven television programs on television putting out double figure ratings way ahead of the aforementioned shows.

The ALA STARS PROVINCIAL TOUR likewise aims to give the loyal Filipino boxing fans the chance to see their favorite ALA boxing champions in the flesh.

This ALA Promotions roadshow will allow the people in the provinces to experience live quality action between the ALA Stars against international competition in action packed non-title match-ups.

These boxing bouts are to prepare the ALA Stars for the bigger Pinoy Pride world-class events in the future that will surely be a treat for boxing fans and would be fans alike in the selected provinces where the ALA STARS TOUR make stops.

“This is ALA Promotions and our fighters way of saying thank you to the loyal boxing fans from the far provinces that have supported us through the years and has contributed to the remarkable ratings of Pinoy Pride” Said ALA Promotions President and CEO Michael Aldeguer.

Blockbuster undercard in Banal-Pungluang title fight

As though the battle for the vacant WBO bantamweight title between No.1 ranked AJ “Bazooka” Banal and No.2 ranked Pungluang Sor Singyu of Thailand isn’t attractive enough, famed ALA Promotions has put together a blockbuster undercard for the October 20 “Pinoy Pride XVII” at the MOA Arena on Roxas Boulevard.

ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer told the Manila Standard that popular Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista will clash with Mexico’s Latino super featherweight champion Daniel Ruiz for the WBO International featherweight title while promising Jason Pagara will face off against Commonwealth Zonal champion Miguel “Hands of Stone” Antoine of Barbados for the WBO International junior welterweight crown.

Banal and Pungluang both promised fireworks on fight night with the tough Thai fighter who has disposed of 16 Filipino opponents including such talented boxers as Eden Sonsona and Marvin Tampus predicting he would knock out Banal in four rounds.

Appearing on a pre-fight special taped at the studios of ABS-CBN, Banal shot back that he will KO Pungluang in three rounds before both protagonists agreed to let their fists do the talking in the ring on October 20 and allow the predictions to stand until then.

Bautista (33-2, 25 KO’s) who is coming off a farce of a fight against a fake Genaro Garcia whom he knocked out in the 2nd round last March 3 is the reigning IBF International 126 pound champion having won nthe title with a 6th round knockout of Miguel Angel Mendoza on December 10, 2011.

Ruiz (27-5-1, 19 KO’s) on the other hand, won the vacant WBC Latino super featherweight title with a 2nd round knockout of Ricardo Castillo on December 10, 2011.

In his last fight on May 18 this year Ruiz lost a bizarre 8th round technical decision in an IBO super featherweight title fight to Australia’s Will Tomlinson when the lights went out at the Melbourne Pavilion and since power was not restored, officials decided to award the fight to the Aussie on the basis of the scorecards at the end of the 8th round.

Pagara (29-2, 18 KO’s) is coming off a crushing 6th round TKO victory in a rematch with rugged Mexican veteran Rosbel Montoya last August 18 to win the vacant WBO International title in which he dropped Montoya three times, the last a devastating shot to his upper arm which didn’t allow the Mexican to continue because of severe pain.

Pagara will go up against the undefeated Antoine (17-0-1, 9 KO’s) who won the vacant Commonwealth Zonal title with a ten round unanimous decision over undefeated Mark Austin on February 25, 2011 after which he won the vacant WBC Caribbean Boxing Federation lightweight title with a twelve round unanimous decision over Revlon Lake on February 25, 2012.

By: Ronnie Nathanielsz

http://philboxing.com/news/story-74488.html

AJ Banal is in Top Condition, Sparring is going well

AJ “Bazooka” Banal (28-1-1, 20 KO’s)  is in top condition for his determined bid to win the vacant WBO bantamweight title in a clash with Thailand’s No.2 ranked Pungluang Sor Singyu (42-1, 27 KO’s) at the Mall of Asia Arena on Roxas Boulevard on October 20.

ALA Gym’s head trainer and former world title challenger Edito “Ala” Villamor told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard that aside from being “in good condition, Banal has looked good in sparring” against such tough fighters as former world rated WBO Oriental champion  Michael Domingo who scored a 1st round knockout of Marvin Tampus last March 3.

Tampus is the same fighter from whom Pungluang Sor Singyu won the WBO Oriental title with a 6th round TKO last August 17, 2011.

Banal has also been sparring with former OPBF super bantamweight champion Roli Gasca and lightweight Joseph Von Minoza.

Villamor said Banal who will be guest at the PSA Forum on Tuesday along with Pungluang Sor Singyu will begin sparring with undefeated super bantamweight Mark Bernaldez (6-0, 4 KO’s) “for speed.”

The trainer also said that strength and conditioning coach Pio Solon was “concentrating on Banal’s power and balance” as he continues his relentless training grind for his second attempt at a world title.

The title clash was made possible after Mexican warrior Jorge Arce relinquished the title to move up  to super bantamweight.

Banal has won 11 consecutive fights after his stunning 10th round KO loss to Panama’s Rafael Concepcion when he suddenly faded while leading comfortably on the scorecards of all three judges on July n26, 2008.

The reigning WBO Oriental champion Sor Singyu has a reputation for being a conqueror of Filipinos having beaten 14 of them in his career.

By: Ronnie Nathanielsz

http://www.boxingscene.com/aj-banal-top-condition-sparring-going-well–56435

Sorsingyu arrives Cebu Sunday to promote title fight with Banal

Pungluang Sorsingyu of Thailand’s One Songchai Promotions is due to arrive the Philippines Sunday August 26, 2012 with One Songchai Promotions representative Michel Du.

The World number 2 Sorsingyu will headline the Pinoy Pride Press Launching Monday 12nn at the Waterfront Cebu Hotel Casino together with WBO World # 1 Bantamweight AJ “Bazooka” Banal of the Philippines.

After months of back and forth negotiations ALA Promotions President/CEO finally managed to deliver the world championship event here in the Philippine between WBO world number 1 and 2 AJ “Bazooka” Banal and Pungluang Sorsingyu for the WBO World Bantamweight Championship recently vacated by Jorge “Traviso” Arce who went up to the next weight division.

Sorsingyu, W 42 (KO27) L 1 D 0who holds the WBO Oriental Bantamweight title is known to be a Filipino beater as he has defeated all 14 of his Filipino opponents. He is a dangerous opponent for Banal, as he is known to be a multi-dimensional fighter that can box and trade at the same time.

The 24 yr. old fighter from Bangkok will be joining Team Banal for a couple of press conferences in Cebu Monday August 27 and Manila on August 28. Pungluang Sorsingyu just came off a stunning 5th round victory over Ricardo Roa in a scheduled 12 round bout last July 6 in Phuket, Thailand.

Also joining the press tour will be ALA Promotions President/CEO Michael Aldeguer and WBO International and Asia-Pacific Vice President Leon Panoncillo. Media personalities will have heir chance of doing the interviews during and after the said press conference.

Sorsingyu and his team will be staying in the Philippines for a week to promote the World Championship and will leaving for Thailand on September 1, 2012 and will continue his preparation for his upcoming fight with AJ Banal that is set October 20, 2012 at SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Pinoy Pride XVII is a Presentation of ALA Promotions, Inc. and ABS-CBN Sports and will be beamed live to Thailand. This event is also supported by the country’s biggest Mall Group SM Supermalls.

http://philboxing.com/news/story-74352.html

Banal ready for Thailand gamble

FIGHTING in Thailand for a world championship could be a huge risk for a promising Filipino fighter like AJ Banal because of the country’s reputation for hometown decisions.

But the thought of possibly winning a coveted world title crown is just too precious to pass, which has the 23-year-old Banal ready for the worst case scenario.

“Yes it can be a gamble but we just have to be prepared for whatever happens,” ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday of the possibility of his young ward fighting in Thailand.

Banal, who is No. 1 rated bantamweight by the World Boxing Organization (WBO), is fighting for WBO’s vacant 118-pound division belt against No. 2 ranked Pungluang Sor Singyu.

ALA Promotions is currently negotiating for the world title fight to be staged in the Philippines but One Songchai Promotions also wants the fight to be in Thailand.

“We are still working on it but the Thai promoter wants to promote the fight in Thailand too,” said Aldeguer. “It’s hard to say, it won’t be an easy negotiation.”

Banal, 27-1-1 with 20 knockouts, has been riding a 10-fight winning streak, which includes wins over respected fighters like Luis Alberto Perez and Cecilio Santos. Banal once fought for the interim World Boxing Association super flyweight crown in 2008 but he got knocked out by Rafael Concepcion in the 10th round.

Despite being just 24 years old, Sor Singyu is already a veteran of 42 fights in a span of over seven years. He has an impressive record of 41-1 with 26 knockouts. His only loss was in 2009, a split decision loss to Belgian fighter Stephane Jamoye. He has an 18-fight winning romp, wherein his last five were against Filipinos.

Wherever the fight will be held, may it be in the Philippines or Thailand, Aldeguer is sure of one thing, that this is Banal’s biggest chance to become a world champion.
“Yes it’s a winnable fight for AJ.”

Banal stops foe, keeps WBO title

CEBU, Philippines – AJ “Bazooka” Banal turned his much-hyped showdown with Mexican Raul “El Bule” Hidalgo into a cruise, scoring a first round TKO to retain his WBO Asia-Pacific bantamweight crownin the main event of the Pinoy Pride XIII: Road to Glory at the full-packed Pacific grand ballroom of Waterfront-Cebu City Hotel and Casino Saturday.

Banal was just starting to heat up when he landed a solid left hook to the chin that wobbled Hidalgo late in the opening round. The visibly dazed and groggy Mexican kept on punching with his head down and his body trembling, prompting referee Joseph Danrex Tapdasan to step in and call off the bout to prevent the Mexican from further harm. The official time was 2:29 of the first round.

“The boxer (Hidalgo) was already trembling. He was not down, but you can see that his knees were not stable. He could no longer look straight and he doesn’t know who is in front of him,” said Tapdasan in defending his decision that drew mixed reactions from the fans.

“The entertainment side (of boxing) will have to take a backseat at that point. What is more important to me is to protect and safeguard the welfare of the boxer. I could have put him in a dangerous situation had I decided to let him continue,” added Tapdasan.

For his part, ALA Boxing Gym big boss Antonio Aldeguer felt the stoppage was “too premature” but said the referee can’t be blamed for doing his job.

“As a fan and promoter, it was too premature to stop the fight. I don’t know the rules, but he (Tapdasan) should have given him a mandatory eight count,” said Aldeguer. “But objectively as a referee, he did what was right.”

ALA Promotions president and CEO Michael Aldeguer echoed his father’s sentiment. “The referee should have prolonged it a bit, but we can’t blame him anyway for doing what he has to do,” said the younger Aldeguer.

“A win for me is a win, whether by early stoppage or decision. It doesn’t matter for me what others may think as long as I was able to make my fans happy,” said Banal, who improved his record to 27-1-1 including 20 KOs. Hidalgo slipped to 16-6 (12 KOs).

Asked if he’s ready for another crack at the world title, Banal quickly replied: “I am ready anytime. That’s what I’ve been waiting for. If opportunity comes, I’m willing to take the challenge.”

In the supporting main event, OPBF flyweight champion Rocky Fuentes pulled off a spectacular win along with ALA stablemates Albert Pagara and Arthur Villanueva.

Fuentes (33-6-2, 20 KOs) scored two knockdowns before finally stopping Franco Javier after 52 seconds of the sixth round. Pagara (11-0, 9 KOs) knocked out Thai Phupha Por Nobnom (10-8, 9 KOs) in 2:38 of the second round while Villanueva (18-0, 12 KOs) escaped with a unanimous decision victory over Rey Migreño (15-19-3, 13 KOs).

 

http://www.philstar.com/sportsarticle.aspx?articleid=791101&publicationsubcategoryid=69

Banal and Hidalgo make weight for Pinoy Pride XIII: Road to Glory

Cebu City – AJ ‘Bazooka’ Banal easily made the bantamweight limit of 118 lbs on his first attempt while Raul ‘El Bule’ Hidalgo of Mexico stepped on the scales at 119 lbs. It took him less than an hour to sweat off the excess pound for their WBO Asia-Pacific title fight.

Banal and Hidalgo will fight in the twelve round main event at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino Saturday night.

For the supporting main event, the ‘Road Warrior’ Rocky Fuentes stepped in at 113.5 lbs and Javier Franco of Mexico weighed 116.5 lbs and was asked to shed at least one pound. The contracted weight for their ten round non-title contest is 114 lbs. An hour later, Franco was not able to lose weight and will be wearing heavier ten ounce gloves on fight night.

Banal and Fuentes will have a lot to lose when they stake their lofty world rankings against the visiting fighters.

‘Prince’ Albert Pagara and Thailand’s Phupha Por Nobnum both weighed 116 lbs for their eight rounder.

Arthur ‘El Matador’ Villanueva stepped on the scales at 118 lbs while Rey Migreno weighed 119.5 lbs. Migreno had to shed the excess weight and stepped in at 118 in his second attempt for this eight round non-title affair.

In another eight rounder, Roma Rate weighed 108 lbs while opponent Jade Yagahon weighed 107 lbs.

Arjan Canillas (126 lbs) and Ranie Pamatian (126.5 lbs) will fight in a scheduled six rounder.

Pagara, Villanueva, Canillas and Rate are all unbeaten prospects.

Jun “Flash” Intor (127 lbs) will provide comic relief in his four rounder with Alejandro Marapao (126 lbs).

Crispin Parba (131 ¾ lbs) and Belmar Quinones (130 ½ lbs) will open the festivities with their four round affair.

The weigh-in held at the SM Mall Events Center was supervised by Glen Agena and Rolando Mendoza of GAB-Cebu.

POSTSCRIPT:

As of Thursday noon, most of the expensive seats were sold out. This is good sign for ALA Promotions; most of the fans here are unaffected by the Genaro Garcia fiasco. Boxing has also steadily moved into the mainstream as the PINOY PRIDE series has consistently topped television ratings here in the country on Sunday mornings. This is a good sign for Philippine boxing as a whole.

During the presscon yesterday, ALA Promotions CEO and President Michael Aldeguer talked about staging the next Pinoy Pride in Metro Manila. Aldeguer hinted at the possibility of having Rey Bautista and Donnie Nietes in one fight card. The WBO lt.flyweight champion is due for a title defense.

 

By Rene Bonsubre, Jr.

http://philboxing.com/news/story-67976.html

AJ ‘ Bazooka’ Banal continues maturation, and world title quest this weekend

The main criticism regarding talented and hard-hitting bantamweight top contender AJ “Bazooka” Banal (26-1-1, 19 KOs) was that he couldn’t fill a dollar – he only has three quarters, or in other words, he fades during the “championship rounds”. As gifted as the 23-year-old Bukidnon-native is, his heart, and stamina are main factors that keep him on the outside of being a World Champion

But in his last fight against then undefeated Mexican foe Mario Briones, Banal took a major step in disproving those criticisms. He dominated, and outclassed the taller, stronger, and granite chinned Briones, only to feel as if he was having deja vu in the latter rounds, when fatigue started to creep in.

Instead of going for broke, however, Banal pulled back for a few rounds, played keep away, and smartly picked his spots. Signs that “Bazooka Joe” has learned from his past experiences.

What he would give to have that wisdom back in 2008, when he dropped a KO loss to Rafael Concepcion for the Interim WBA sper flyweight belt in a fight he was dominating from the opening bell. Banal was ahead of all scorecards when he refused to get up during that fateful 10th round when he got dropped for the first time ever in his career.

This weekend, Banal gets to test his mettle once again as the WBO’s #1 bantamweight headlines ALA Promotions’ March 24 Pinoy Pride card at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

Banal will be facing tough Mexican in Raul Hidalgo (16-5-0, 12 KOs) for his fourth defense of his WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title, which will also serve as a tune-up before he goes on to finally challenge for another World Title.

Also to be featured in the undercard are promising undefeated Filipino fighters Prince Albert Pagara and Arthur Villanueva, as well as OPBF Flyweight Champion Rocky Fuentes.

Another added motivation for Banal is the fact that he has more to fight for at this stage in his life. “I was thinking about my son during those hard rounds. He’s the one who gives me strength and inspiration,” Banal told be back in Bacolod after his win against Briones.

Considered as one of the best boxing talents from Cebu, something undefeated lightweight rising star Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta himself confirmed to me in one of our conversations, Banal is definitely looking to be on the right path to fulfilling his promise.

AJ Banal Targets a Title, But He Must Beat Hidalgo First

AJ “Bazooka” Banal who is looking to challenge for a world title this year should have no problem disposing of Mexico’s Raul Hidalgo when they clash for Banal’s WBO Asia Pacific bantamweight title at the Cebu Waterfront Hotel & Casino on Saturday.

The fight will headline the extremely successful “Pinoy Pride” series which will telecast its 13th edition titled “Road to Glory” on ABS-CBN on Sunday.

The southpaw Banal who is ranked No. 1 by the WBO, No. 3 by the IBF and the WBA and No. 5 by the WBC has a record of 26-1-1 with 19 knockouts while his Mexican opponent Hidalgo has a record of 16-5 with 12 knockouts.

Hidalgo is coming of back-to-back wins beginning with an eight round split decision victory over former world super flyweight title challenger Victor Zaleta who had an impressive record of 19-2 with 10 knockouts on January 28 this year followed by a 2nd round TKO over unheralded Macario Leyva who had a record of 3-8 with 2 knockouts on February 25.

However, Hidalgo was knocked out in the first round of a battle for the vacant WBC International super flyweight title when he made the mistake of engaging Kameda early in the fight and paid the price. The tough Japanese caught him with two shots to the liver and as he agonized in pain referee Manolo Alcocer counted Hidalgo out at 2:20 of round one.

However, with his two recent wins the Mexican warrior is confident he could scuttle Banal’s title bid by beating him. In a statement prior to the Mexicans arrival on Wednesday at 9:45 p.m. in Cebu, Hidalgo said “We Mexicans always fight to win and I will make sure to win in any way possible.”

He said he is “very excited” about the fight and he hopes to “excite the fans when they come to watch us on Saturday.”

Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation flyweight champion Rocky Fuentes takes on Mexican Javier “El Chivero Franco in a ten round bout with the hard-hitting Fuentes favored to win and also step in line for a world title shot since he is ranked No. 4 by the WBO, No. 3 by the WBC and IBF and No. 5 by the WBA behind a record of 32-6-2 with 19 knockouts.

Franco is coming off an eight round unanimous decision over Jorge Garcia who hadn’t won a fight with a 0-2 record according to boxrec.com last March 3 prior to which he scored a 1st round TKO over Luis Carlos Jimenez who had a record of 1-7 with 1 knockout making Fuentes a prohibitive favorite to win.

But just like Hidalgo and most Mexican fighters Franco didn’t back off and promised “I will do what I can to give a grand performance for the fans to remember. I will be going for the win.”

 

By Ronnie Nathanielsz

http://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&opt=printable&id=50854

Banal Returns to the Ring on March 24 in the main event of Pinoy Pride 13

WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion AJ “Bazooka” Banal of ALA Gym Philippines will be tested anew before his second world title shot of his career on the 24th of March at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

Banal W 26 (KO 19) L 1 D 1 last fought October 8, 2011 in Bacolod City where he beat Mexican Mario Briones of Mexico via a 12 round UD beat down and will be facing another Mexican in Raul Hidalgo for his fourth defense of his WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title.

Hidalgo who sports a record of W 16 (KO 12) L 5 D 0 will be Banal’s last test before fighting for the WBO World Bantamweight title which rumor has it that current champ Jorge Arce will be vacating to challenge Nonito Donaire, Jr. of the Pilippines. Should this happen, Banal will possibly be in the clear to fight for a world championship this year.

Also to be featured in the undercard are promising undefeated Filipino fighters Prince Albert Pagara and Arthur Villanueva. OPBF Flyweight Champ Rocky Fuentes will likewise be in this exciting fight card.

Pinoy Pride 13 is a proud presentation of ALA Promotions and ABS CBN Sports gearing towards showcasing the Filipino fighters to the world.

 

http://philboxing.com/news/story-67570.html

Pinoy Pride XIII: Banal vs. Hidalgo

Mandaue City – AJ ‘Bazooka’ Banal (26W-1L-1D, 17 KO’s) of Ermita, Cebu City will defend his WBO Asia-Pacific bantamweight title against Raul Hidalgo (15W-5L, 11 KO’s) of Mexico this March 24.

But the favourite question among the sportswriters was if Banal can fight for a world title this year.

“We are not treating this as a mere tune-up,” ALA Promotions CEO Michael Aldegeur said, “You can never underestimate a Mexican fighter. Yes, AJ is nearing a title fight and we’ll assess after this fight. We are also looking at the possibility of AJ fighting on the undercard of a Nonito Donaire fight in the U.S.”

Banal for his part said, “I am satisfied with the results of my last two fights. My confidence is back. I have prepared long and hard, I’ve been in the gym since December. I will not look past Hidalgo. He could be better than his record.”

Banal is the number ranked contender in the WBO. The reigning champion, Jorge Arce, of Mexico, has been reported to be planning another move up in weight.

By Rene Bonsubre, Jr.

http://philboxing.com/news/story-66965.html

 

AJ Banal Has Two World Title Opportunities on The Table

Things appear to be looking up for famed ALA Promotions prospect AJ “Bazooka” Banal, the reigning WBO Asia Pacific bantamweight champion who is ranked No. I by the WBO and No. 3 by the IBF as he has an opportunity to fight for the title under either world organization.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard during a conversation in San Antonio, Texas,  that Jorge “Travieso” Arce is moving back up to bantamweight to fight four-division champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire who won the WBO title beating former champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr handily last February 4 at the Alamadome in San Antonio.

Donaire’s manager Cameron Dunkin confirmed the fight and with the specialist’s findings that Donaire’s left hand wasn’t broken as originally feared,  chances are the Arce fight will go ahead sometime in May either in the Cowboys Stadium in Texas or the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

With Arce moving up to fight Donaire it leaves the WBO bantamweight title vacant although as of now Arce’s handlers haven’t confirmed his decision to move back to 122 and formally notified the WBO.

In another development IBF Championship Committee chairman Lindsey Tucker  has announced that since 118 pound champion Abner Mares has informed the IBF he was relinquishing his title and not fighting mandatory challenger Vusi Malinga of South Africa, the IBF had given the handlers of Banal and Malinga some 90 days within which to finalize negotiations for a title fight. If Branco Milenkovic who handles Malinga is unable to come to terms with ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer then the IBF will order a purse bid.

Should Banal opt to fight for the vacant WBO title he will face Thailand’s Pungluang Sor Singyu, the WBO Oriental interim champion and the WBO Asia Pacific Youth champion who is 23 years old and has an impressive  record of 39-1 with 26 knockouts.

On the other hand is ALA Promotions decide to go after the IBF title then Banal will clash with  Vusi “Marvelous” Malinga the 29 year old southpaw with a record of 20-3-1 with 12 knockouts who, in his last fight,  beat Banal’s stablemate Michael Domingo by a twelve round unanimous decision in a title eliminator in South Africa on October 30, 2010.

Banal himself a southpaw is 23 years old and boasts of a record of  26-1-1 with 19 knockouts and is one of the ALA fighters being eyed by Top Rank alongside undefeated WBO No.1 flyweight Milan Melindo to figure in forthcoming Top Rank fight cards in the US.

Arum told us that he wants the ALA fighters to train in the Top Rank Gym in Las  Vegas before being featured on the fight cards of Top Rank promotions.

 

By Ronnie Nathanielsz

http://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&opt=printable&id=49392

AJ Banal Lined Up For WBO Interim Title Fight

ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer says AJ “Bazooka” Banal (26-1-1, 19 KO’s) is being lined up for a possible WBO Interim bantamweight title fight against Thailand’s No.1 world ranked Pungluang Sor Singyu who has an impressive record of 38-1 with 26 knockouts, many of them against Filipinos.

The solidly built Thai stopped Marvin Tampus in six rounds, Paul Apolinario, Freddie Martinez and Elmar Francisco in two and Joel Rafols in the first round. Pungluang won the WBO Asia Pacific Interim title with a 2nd round TKO of Nathan Bolicio last October 11 and won the Youth title with a 1st round knockout of Jilo Merlin on October 31, 2009.

Aldeguer told the Manila Standard that during the recent WBO Convention in Puerto Rico he started to “open up discussions” with WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel and Asia Pacific vice president Leon Panoncillo about a possible interim title fight, ”hopefully in March 2012.”

The interim title fight loomed after reigning WBO/WBC champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire announced he is moving up to campaign as a super bantamweight following his shutout win over two division champion Omar Andres Narvaez of Argentina last October 22 at the Theater in Madison Square Garden.

Although there are also possibilities of the talented southpaw Banal fighting for the No.1 mandatory spot in the IBF, Aldeguer said “for now, the focus is on the WBO not the IBF, but we will study the best option.”

Aldeguer informed us he would discuss the planned interim title fight with ABS-CBN vice president for Sports Peter Musngi before sending the WBO president a formal letter.

Aldeguer is in Los Angeles and plans on visiting the gym of Donaire’s trainer Robert Garcia who informed us that he would be ready to train Banal beginning next year since he is currently in Mexico working with Antonio Margarito.

Aldeguer who visited Garcia’s gym in the past said he would “still be passing by his gym to see the place again and prepare a place for Team Banal to stay when he starts training with Robert January of next year.” He added “definitely, whatever happens Banal will be training in the US next year. We feel that Robert is the right guy for Banal and maybe in the future for some of our other fighters.”

 

By Ronnie Nathanielsz

http://philboxing.com/news/story-62057.html

AJ Banal Faces Mario Briones on The Garcia-Nietes Bill

MANILA, Philippines—AJ “Bazooka” Banal battles tough, undefeated Mexican champion Mario “Maca” Briones on the undercard of the WBO light flyweight championship between former minimumweight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes and reigning 108-pound champion Ramon Garcia Hirales also of Mexico.

The fight card scheduled at the University of St. La Salle Gymnasium in Bacolod City on October 8 will see the 22-year-old southpaw Banal, who has a record of 25-1-1 with 19 knockouts clash with the 25-year-old Briones, who has a record of 20-0-1 with 14 knockouts.

Banal is coming off an unimpressive eighth-round technical decision over Canada’s Tyson Cave last July 30, when a nasty gash above Banal’s right eyebrow which was caused by an accidental clash of heads forced the ring physician to instruct referee Tony Pesons to call a halt and go to the scorecards of the judges.

All three judges had Banal the winner.

Banal had earlier captured the WBO Asia Pacific bantamweight title with a cracking second-round knockout of Francis Miyeyusho on March 19.

ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer said the only way to find out how far his fighters are capable of going is to match them against tough, credible opponents.

In the case of Banal they decided to get Briones who is coming off a fourth-round knockout of Ulises Castillo last July 16.

By Ronnie Nathanielsz
http://www.boxingscene.com/aj-banal-faces-mario-briones-on-garcia-nietes-bill–43752

AJ Banal Targets Rafael Concepcion After Cove Win

Filipino boxer AJ “Bazooka” Banal won a bloody scrap, retaining his World Boxing Organization (WBO) Asia-Pacific bantamweight title, with an eight-round technical decision over Canadian Tyson Cove in Cebu, Philippines.

It was a successful defense but complicated for Banal, who bled profusely from a dangerous cut on his right eyebrow after an unintentional clash of heads. Undoubtedly Banal landed the best punches of the fight, especially with combinations initiated by his right jabs, which were followed up by left hooks and right uppercuts.

Cove (15-2, 5KO’s) used a lot of dirty tricks and questionable tactics during the fight, but never lost any points. In the eighth round, the referee stopped the fight, based on the recommendation of the attending physician Dr. Jose Unabia, because Banal’s cut was too severe. The fight went to the scorecards. The scores were 73-79, 74-78, and 74-78 – all in favor Banal.

Banal, 22 years old and ranked by the four major governing bodies, raises his record to 25 wins, 1 loss, and 17 wins by knockout.

After the win, Banal expressed his desire to avenge the only loss of his career. Banal publicly challenged Panamanian Rafael “El Torito” Concepcion. In July of 2008, Concepcion defeated Banal in Cebu in a ​dramatic battle.

“I’m glad I held on to my WBO Asia Pacific title, and now I want to challenge Torito Concepcion,” said Banal to BoxingScene.com/NotiFight.com. “I hope he (Concepcion) gives me a rematch. Now I’m craving to be a better fighter and I want that fight to clear my record. My agent (Don Antonio L. Aldeguer) supports me and agrees.”

Negotiations for the Banal vs Concepcion II are already in progress.

The supervisor of the fight was WBO Vice-President Mr. Leon Panoncillo of Hawaii. The event was organized by ALA Boxing Promotions and televised in the Philippines by ABC CBN Sports.

By: Carlos Costa
http://www.boxingscene.com/aj-banal-targets-rafael-concepcion-cove-win–42142

Villanueva Scores 20th KO in 21 Wins

Lapulapu City – Lorenzo “Thunderbolt” Villanueva, the reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) Oriental Featherweight champion, made a short work of Indonesian Junior Lightweight champion Eddy Camaro by scoring a quick knockout in the first round of their 10-round bout at the swank and fully air-conditioned Hoops Dome in this historic city Saturday night.

Villanueva, a young southpaw from Midsayap town in North Cotabato, immediately strutted to the center of right after the bell sounded to start round 1, threw two or three looping lefts and rights that missed before he connected with a thunderous right to the Indonesian champion’s midsection.

As Comaro backpedalled to his corner, Villanueva pursued the Indonesian and unleashed a three punch combo, a left to the back of the ear of Comaro followed by a right uppercut and finally a thunderous left just above the right neck, sending the Indonesian fighter to his knees with his left hand hanging on to the ropes and obviously unconcious.

Referee Teddy Alivio counted out Comaro at 1:02 of the first round giving the undefeated Villanueva his 20th knockout win in 21 victories.

http://philboxing.com/news/story-58124.html