Sabillo KOs foe, keeps WBO titleBy Roy Luarca
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A CRACKLING left by Merlito Sabillo to the body knocked out Colombian Jorle Estrada in the ninth round as the Filipino retained his World Boxing Organization minimumweight crown Saturday night at Solaire Resort Hotel and Casino along Manila Bay.
Sabillo’s snappy body shot sent Estrada crumbling to the canvas while clutching his midsection. He spat out his mouthpiece while gasping for air and was counted out by referee Raul Caiz Jr. after a minute and nine seconds of the ninth of the 12-round clash headlining Pinoy Pride XXI.
“King” Arthur Villanueva, AJ “Bazooka” Banal and Albert Pagara stopped their respective foreign rivals in quicker fashion earlier.
Villanueva was pummeling hapless Mexican Arturo Badillo at the ropes when referee Janrex Tapdasan waived off the bout for the WBO Asia Pacific super flyweight title with 2:03 gone in the fourth round.
Banal, hoping to revive his career, forced Mexican Gomez to quit in the second round of their junior featherweight tussle.
Pagara, a prime junior bantamweight prospect, unleashed a left jab and a right cross to demolish Thai Khunkhiri Wor Wisaruth, 2:29 into the second round.
It was Sabillo’s methodical demolition of the cocky Estrada, however, which got the loudest applause from a crowd of around 1,500 at the swanky Grand Ballroom.
Concentrating on the midsection, Sabillo, a former street fighter in Bacolod City, had the rangy Estrada back-pedalling for most of the lopsided bout.
Forced into a corner in the third round, Sabillo showed his versatility by unloading two right body blows that sent the Colombian backing off again.
Sabillo took the fight to Estrada right from the start and the Colombian, feeling the power of the Filipino, rarely engaged in toe-to-toe exchanges, using his longer reach to stay out of trouble.
By the fifth round with Sabillo pressing the attack with sneaky lefts, it was evident that Estrada was fading and bound to hit the canvas which came four rounds later.
The 29-year-old Sabillo, who raised his unblemished record to 23-0 with 12 knockouts, thus proved that his eighth round conquest of Luis de la Rosa in Colombia en route to the 105-pound title was no fluke.
Estrada, who was given oxygen a few minutes after the knockout, fell to 16-7.
In the chief support, Villanueva staggered Badillo with a right to the temple then dropped the Mexican with a fussilade of rights in the fourth. Badillo, who sustained a cut on top of his head following a class of heads in the second, got up but was met by more heavy blows from Villanueva, now 22-0 with 12 KOs.
Elated by Sabillo’s performance, Michael Aldegeur, president and CEO of ALA Promotions which staged the event with ABS-CBN Sports, said that the 29-year-old would be included in a planned fight card in Dubai in October.
Pagara climbed to 17-0 with 11 KOs in the first televised bout. The overmatched Wisaruth fell to (9-5-1, 5 KOs).