Banal, Thai both vow KO victoryBy Roy Luarca
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — It will be a race for the knockout win when Filipino AJ Banal and Thai Pungluang Sor Singyu tangle for the World Boxing Organization bantamweight title Saturday night at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Peeved by Pungluang’s pledge to knock him out in the sixth round during yesterday’s press conference for Pinoy Pride XVII, Banal retorted: “I’ll finish him off in five.”
Both boxers have the capability and power to back up their words in the 12-round headliner of the fight card dubbed as the Philippines vs the World.
The 23-year-old Banal has knocked out 20 of his 28 victims in a 30-fight career while Pungluang, a former Muay Thai exponent, isn’t far behind with 27 knockouts in 42 wins.
Pungluang will try to extend his mastery over Filipinos, having beaten all 15 he has faced so far.
Banal, who at 5-foot-4 enjoys a 2 1/2-inch height advantage, however, is raring to avenge his countrymen and bag the crown which Mexican Jorge Arce vacated this year.
Getting the cue from Pungluang, Mexican Daniel Ruiz also predicted a knockout victory over Filipino Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista in their 12-round tussle for the WBO International featherweight title.
Unlike Banal, however, Bautista chose not to make a prediction.
“Let’s just see on Saturday,” said Bautista, who actually wields a better knockout percentage of 71.43 (25 of 33 wins, two losses) than Ruiz, who has stopped 19 of 27 victims against five losses and two draws for a 57.58 rate.
The other 12-round fight in the undercard pits Filipino Jason Pagara against unbeaten Miguel “Hands of Stone” Antoine of Barbados for the WBO International light welter crown.
Antoine (17-0-1 with 9 KOs) drew attention to himself on Wednesday when he boasted during the PSA Forum that he is looking past Pagara (29-2 with 18 KOs) to battle Fighter of the Decade Manny Pacquiao.
Other matches in the card put up by Ala Promotions and ABS-CBN Sports pit veteran Michael Domingo against Ugandan Mudde Ntambe Rabison and Marlon Tapales against Indonesian Rasmudin.
The official weigh-in will be held at noon today at MOA Music Hall.