Groomed as the next big thing to come out of the touted ALA stable, Merlito Sabillo would love nothing more than to prolong his reign as a world champion with the bigger names of the sport in the country falling by the wayside over the past year.
In the shadows of stablemate and world champion Donnie Nietes, Sabillo finally made his mark when he knocked out Colombia’s Luis dela Rosa in the eighth round in their mini flyweight bout in Cerete, Colombia, last March 9.
The bout was for the interim crown and since the reigning champion Moises Fuentes moved up in weight and vacated the crown, Sabillo was installed as the new champion by the WBO.
Sabillo, who turned pro when he was 24, is aware of the fact that the Philippines just lost three world titles following successive losses by Manny Pacquiao, Brian Viloria and Nonito Donaire Jr.
“It’s a little sad to see them lose,” said Sabillo, who carried his belt as he graced yesterday’s PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate along with his trainer Michael Domingo.
Considered a late bloomer having taken up boxing when he was 21, the pride of Toboso, Negros Occidental, is already scheduled to defend his title on June 29 in Bacolod City.
ALA Promotions vice president Dennis Canete said they are still looking for an opponent for Sabillo’s defense. “Most likely, it will be among the Top 10 contenders in the division,” said Canete.
“I will focus hard in training so I can keep my title,” said Sabillo, who is undefeated in 21 fights with 11 knockouts, two of them coming in the first round.