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TACLOBAN CITY — Two locally-bred Leyte Sports Academy (LSA) scholar athletes made gold-medal finishes at the World Classic Powerlifting Championship in Kileen, Texas, USA and at the Asian Powerlifting Championship in Udaipur, India.


Veronica Ompod, 15, ruled the 43-kilogram sub-junior division in the World Classic Powerlifing Championship with a 90-kilogram squat performance for the Philippines.


Ompod formed part of the Philippine team, which include, World Record breaker Joanne Masangkay. She ranked six in the overall category.


Ompod, who hails from Matag-ob, Leyte, now trains with the national team managed by the Powerlifting Association of the Philippines.


Last year in Hongkong, she made a silver finish at the Asian Power Lifting Championship.


Meanwhile, Rowella Abrea, 16, also from Matag-ob town, won four golds at the 2016 Asian Powerlifting Championships in Udaipur, India.


The gold medals were from bench, deadlift, squat, including the overall rank.


Abrea was part of the Filipino lifters who captured a total of 25 gold, seven silver and three bronze medals in India last June.


She was also a gold medalist in last year’s Asian Powerlifting Championship in Hongkong and was named Asian Sub-Junior Best Lifter.


The national powerlifting team is now training for another stint at the World Junior and Sub-Junior Powerlifting Championship in Poland this month.


Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla said he is proud of the achievements that the sports-scholars of LSA continue to make every year.


The governor said this is a sports program that the province will continue to nurture and grow so that Leyte’s young sports goldmines will be given opportunities to compete around the country and in foreign lands.


He assured that all the athletes would be given the support to enhance their talents.


LSA, which started in 2010, is run by the provincial government which develops local sports talents to enhance grassroots sports in the province. LSA has since produced athletes now part of the national teams and competed in various international competitions

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SAN MATEO, California — Mexico's Cesar Juarez overcame a first-round knockdown and overpowered Filipino fighter Albert Pagara to win via stoppage in the main event of Pinoy Pride 37: Fists of the Future in San Mateo, California on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).


Juarez was sent to the canvas by a left hook to the jaw with less than 10 seconds to go in the first round, but got back up and became stronger as the fight went on, eventually crushing Pagara with his relentless swings.


The end came for Pagara early in the eighth round, when Juarez opened up the frame with a flurry of punches that caught the young Filipino off guard and pushed him right back into his corner.


Juarez landed three straight unanswered punches to open the eighth round, all hits landing flush to the head of Pagara, and the Filipino hit his corner and landed on the canvas. He tried to beat the 10-count, but could not even stand up and the fight was waved off.


The time of the stoppage was just 15 seconds into the eighth round.


Meanwhile, Filipino slugger Sonny “Pinoy Hearns” Katiandagho who survived a first round knockdown to stop then undefeated Rafik Harutjunjan of Armenia in the third round by a technical knockout to capture the vacant WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council welterweight crown last Saturday night at the Sichuan Gymnasium in Chengdu, China.


Katiandagho, a native of General Santos City was surprisingly downed by a right over hang to his head in the opening round. But he was able to stand up to even answer back in the second round by also knocking down the Armenian with solid body shots.


The 23-year-old Katiandagho improved his record to 10 straight wins with six knockouts and one loss while Harutjunjan suffered his first setback after nine straight wins.


“The opponent is strong but because Sonny have trained well he was able to recover immediately from the knockout,” said manager Brico Santig.


Katiandagho downed his opponent with body shots in the second round. He continued hurting the Armenian with telling body blows in the third round until the referee saw that Harutjunjan was already badly hurt and trying to run away from the Filipino fighter.


The referee stopped the fight before the end of the third round.


“Suerte at tinalo natin ang isang undefeated. Pero basta’t my tamang ensayo at preparasyon, malaki talaga ang chance sa boxer na manalo (We’re lucky to beat an undefeated. But with a good training and preparation, there is always a good chance for a boxer to win),” said trainer Joven Jorda.


“Nagpapasalamat po ako sa ating Panginoon at binigyan nya po ulit ako nang pakakataon na manalo (I thanked our Lord God for giving again another chance to win),” said Katiandagho.


Meanwhile, Rogelio Casarez of the United States captured the IBU World Championship super featherweight title via a majority decision against Thailand’s Ronnakit Boontree.


Casarez improved to 12-5-0-5 KO while Boontree suffered his first defeat against 8 wins with 5 KOs.


In the double championship fight for the WBC Silver and IBU World Female titles, newly-crowned WBC Silver female super featherweight champion Melissa “Little Miss Tyson” St Vil of Brooklyn, New York defeated ex-IBF World female super bantamweight champion feisty female super featherweights Katy Wilson “La Super Baby” Castillo of Dominican Republic by a convincing unanimous decision.


St Vil now has 8-2-3 slate while Castillo dropped to 18-2-0 card. The boxing card was presented by the Manny Pacquiao Promotions China under Jun Tao.


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PASAY CITY — Retired boxer and now Senator Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao has shown his seriousness this early for his new calling in the Philippine Senate.


This as he attended a crash course on his new role as a senator and disclosed proposed measures that he would file in the Upper Chamber of Congress.


Pacquiao, one of the country's top individual taxpayers and  celebrity having been an actor, singer and basketball player and coach, has also been active in discussing issues affecting the people, including the proposed restoration of the death penalty, in support of the campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte to stop illegal drugs and crimes.


President Duterte himself was in attendance when he took his oath of office as senator in ceremonies held in Sarangani which he once represented as congressman of the lone district.


During the ceremonies, Duterte admitted that Pacquiao was one of the country's leaders who convinced him to run for president.


But when Duterte was wishy washy with the decision, Pacquiao said he had to join the senatorial slate of then Vice President Jejomar Binay.


During the campaign, his performance as Sarangani representative became an issue having been a perennial absentee in the Lower House.

In 2012, in a rare moment when he took the podium, he rejected the Reproductive Health Bill using religious reasoning that conveniently evaded the nuances of the proposed law. The bill, however, eventually was passed by Congress and has since become a law, although not fully implemented
Also during the campaign, he was battered due to his pronouncements that angered the LGBT community.

In answer to the issue on absenteeism, Pacquiao vowed he would do his work seriously as a legislator in case he wins as a senator.

He also clarified that while he frequented being absent in Congress, he did his work by helping the people of Sarangani and giving honor to the country through his boxing fights.

Despite the issues of absenteeism and his statement on gays, Pacquiao landed seventh in the Magic 12 getting several millions of votes.


And while the issues have been set aside, reports are out that he may yet take a leave in the Senate to fight this October in Las Vegas.

His promoter Bob Arum hinted of the planned leave so Pacquiao can prepare for his ring comeback.


But Pacquiao vehemently denied reports that he will return to the ring later this year, insisting that he is focused on his "legislative works."


ESPN earlier reported that according to Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, the "Pacman" is set to return on either October 29 or November 5 in Las Vegas, against a yet to be named opponent.


In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Pacquiao declared that "there is no truth to media reports that I'm planning to take a leave from my Senate duties just to fight again atop the ring."


"I want to make it clear – my priority is my legislative works," he said. "My next fight has not yet been discussed. Should there be any, I'll make sure it will not interfere with my Senate duties."


"When I ran for Senator last May 9 elections, I made a promise to be present in all sessions. I owe it to the people," Pacquiao added. "If ever I decide to fight again, rest assured, it will happen when Congress is on recess, so there's no need for me to go on leave."


"He is going to fight. I don't know what the date is. He is working with the President of the Philippines senate for an appropriate date where he can leave the Philippines for two or three weeks to prepare for the fight,” the Top Rank Inc. CEO told Boxing Scene’s Ryan Burton.


If Pacquiao decides to return to boxing, Arum said he will spend most of his training in the Philippines so he can still address his legislative duties.


“It is going to be an interesting thing but definitely he is looking to come back and the question is how can we arrange it," he added.


Arum earlier disclosed they have reserved the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas for Pacquiao on October 15.


"We have the date, just to protect ourselves," he said at the time.


Pacquiao announced his retirement from boxing shortly after beating Timothy Bradley in a trilogy bout last April, a month before the national elections. He eventually won a seat in the Senate, garnering more than 16 million votes.


An ABS-CBN report quoted Arum saying Adrien Broner is considered out of the running for a possible Pacquiao fight after the American boxer reportedly demanded a “ridiculous amount.”


“I was dealing with Al Haymon on making that fight. Al tried but Broner was asking for crazy money that nobody can afford so he is out and Manny is looking for another opponent," said Arum.


Pacquiao has been mum on the planned return to the ring this October.

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MAKATI CITY — Now that he has retired and elected as a senator of the Philippines, will Manny Pacquiao return to the boxing ring?


Pacquiao has insisted he would devote his time to his legislative work in the Senate and in helping his countrymen as well as his family.


In fact, he retired in style after beating American world champion Timothy Bradley in their Las Vegas bout.


But reports continue to circulate that the world boxing icon may yet don the boxing gloves again.


In fact, his supposed opponent has been named. He is former multiple-division champion Adrien Broner.


Pacquiao’s trainer, the American Freddie Roach, has drawn to the reports circulating in the boxing world and gave his stamp of approval on Pacquiao returning to the ring to face fellow Broner.


According to reports circulating around the internet, negotiations between the Pacquiao and Broner camps have started and Roach said he likes the thought.


“Broner's a friend of mine. I met him on his fourth pro fight. He was a much different person back then, he was really nice to me,” Roach told Steve Kim of


Even Pacquiao’s longtime promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank has been reported to be planning a Pacquiao bout on October 15.


The Las Vegas Review-Journal even reported that Arum has booked the Mandalay Bay Events center in Las Vegas as the venue for Pacquiao’s return.


Ever since Pacquiao announced his retirement in April, Arum has not stopped to get him back in the ring again.


Pacquiao, 37, announced his retirement from professional prizefighting after he defeated Timothy Bradley in April. Arum said he is still hopeful he could convince Pacquio to fight again.


"I have never had a fighter like Lomachenko. Whenever I tell him I have a date for him to fight, his first question is, 'Who is it?' I only want tough fights. Don't give me guys I am just going to walk through that don't present a challenge. I want guys who present a challenge.'," Arum told


"Let me tell you, by the way he is going, if Manny continues to fight, sometime next year I wouldn't hesitate to match Lomachenko against Pacquiao. That would be a hell of a fight."


Despite being hopeful of Pacquiao fighting again, Arum also realizes that his prized ward now has important duties outside the ring. According to Arum, a prospective match between Pacquiao and Lomachenko would depend if the Filipino actually decides to fight.


"If he will fight this year, then he will fight next year. We are thinking about him fighting in October if he wants to fight. Once I get the opponent that I am working on — we are working on opponents and once I get that, I will fly over to the Philippines and he will see if his schedule in the Senate allows him to train for a fight and participate in a fight," said Arum.


"I know he wants to continue fighting but the impediment is how labor intensive his work as a Filipino senator is and he is not going to really know that for another week or so. He was just sworn in as a senator." 


At press time, Pacquiao has not made any public comment about the Pacquiao-Broner fight.


Pacquiao took his oath as a Senator recently in Sarangani with President Rodrigo Duterte in attendance.


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PSC Commissioner Ramon Fernandez (Photo from ABS-CBN News)


CEBU CITY — Former Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William 'Butch' Ramirez has accepted President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's offer to return as the chief of the government's sports agency.


Ramirez, who served as PSC chair from 2005-2008, was responsible for giving the Philippines its first overall Southeast Asian Games overall championship in 2005 as the Philippine delegation topped the region’s delegation to the biennial meet hosted in the country.


He was also the head of the small Philippine delegation in the Asian Games in Doha Qatar in 2006 where the Filipinos won four golds and performed creditably amidst a very tough field that had world-class athletes competing.


Ramirez, a former seminarian and a college professor at the Ateneo University of Davao, is set to replace outgoing PSC chair Richie Garcia on July 1.


Also named PSC Commissioner was Ramon “El Presidente” Fernandez who immediately batted for the creation of functional satellite offices in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to provide access for provincial athletes.


Fernandez, the legendary Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) all-time leading scorer, said he will also push for the creation of more sports facilities in the communities, especially in the provinces, in collaboration with the local governments.


Fernandez said he wants to institutionalize the geographic and sectoral representation of the commissioners and to do away with the highly centralized system.


Fernandez, who has accepted his appointment by President-elect Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte to become one of the PSC commissioners, said he will have his office in Cebu.


He said this will maximize his plans to implement the “four-point agenda” that he will try to inject the country’s amateur sports governing and funding body, including access and decentralization.


“Accepting the post as PSC commissioner is a way to give back to the sports. To what it has brought to me and what I have become to the community,” he said.


Fernandez said his agenda mainly is to give direct help to the athletes.


”I’ve seen them, how they trained, how they lived at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and it has been that way, or has improved a little. That is what I am going to address soon. And of course, with the directive of President Digong to develop the grassroots talents in the countryside I will be concentrating my efforts here in Cebu, which I will fight to become a regional center,” Fernandez said.


Fernandez said they will try to identify the sports in which the country can get more medals such as swimming, athletics and boxing.


”And through this we will hold tournaments, quarterly tournaments will do,” Fernandez said.


Fernandez said he will show Duterte his proposed action plan when he meets with the elected president in Cebu City.He said he will also provide local government and private companies the blueprints for sports programs they can utilize to encourage their workers to stay active and develop a seniors fitness environment by creating more parks and playgrounds


Fernandez said he and the returning PSC chairman Ramirez will also meet the outgoing chair Ricardo “Ritchie” Garcia and his commissioners for the turnover of command next week.


In his “program of action” to President Duterte pointed four points that he thinks would improve the Filipino athletes and Philippine sports.


These are access and decentralization; creating pathways; capabilities; and accountability and transparency.


Fernandez said he will also push for an increase in opportunities for athletic scholarships and provide sports grants for athletes with disabilities.


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MAKATI CITY (PhilAmPress/PhlTodayUSA) - No, Filipino ring icon and now senator-elect Manny Paquiao won't be seeing action in the coming 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games this August 5-16 in Brazil. 


Stressing that he's abiding by the decision of his countrymen expressed in the recently-concluded general elections when he garnered more than 16 million votes and earned for him a seat in the 24-seat Philippine Senate, the now 37-year-old retired fighter turned down an offer extended him by the  International Boxing Association (AIBA) president Dr. Wu Ching-Kuo to box in the Rio edition of the quaddrenial conclave. 


The only eight-division world champion also cited the survey  conducted in his behest himself during his campaign trips to the provinces prior to the electoral exercise to determine the pulse of the public as another reason on whether he will unretire pursuant to his announcement to hang his gloves following his victory over American Timothy Brad ley last April.      


"As I said upon receiving Dr. Wu's invitation, I would love to represent our country in the Olympics to give our people our first Olympic gold medal we've been dreaming for a long time," Pacquio told this writer in a long distance telephone call Thursday night. 


"Pero nasabi ko nga rin, depende sa magiging resulta ng eleksyon kung ako ay bibigyan ng ating mga kababayan ng pagkakataong mapaglingkuran sila bilang senador," the two-time Sarangani Congressman clarified. "So I asked my friends, relatives and associates na pakiramdaman what the people feel." 


"And that's it, the people have spoken na ituloy ko muna ng paglilingkod sa kanila bilang pubilc servant bago magisip na bumalik sa boksing, kung may balak mang magbalik," he said. "I know many will be disappointed with this decision, especially those hoping that I can be able to finally end our country's quest for our first Olympic gold."


"I also hope that they will understand. For the past two decades or so naman nabigyan ko na rin naman andg Pilipinas ng di iilang karangalan kaya dito muna na tayo sa serbisyong  mas maraming makikinabang," he said. "


"And I promise them that I will not disappoint them in this new venture I am entering," he vowed. "Makaaasa sila na lalo kong pag-iibayuhin na makapagswilbi sa kanila bilang mambabats precisely because of the trust they've just given me."


In Davao City, Pacquiao, after meeting with president-elect Rodrigo Duterte, pledged to become a full-time lawmaker and attend every session of the Senate without fail.


Pacquiao had been the target of criticism during his two terms at the House of Representatives as he barely showed up in sessions due to boxing and other commitments.


Pacquiao assured the public his chronic absenteeism would soon be a thing of the past. Although he was busy with training and fighting, Pacquiao was able to author or co-author at least four laws.


According to records of the House of Representatives, one law of which he is sole author is Republic Act 10828, which President Aquino signed last May 19.  The law is titled, “An Act establishing a regular district office of the Land Transportation Office in the province of Sarangani and appropriating funds.”


The law mandates the secretary of transportation and communications “to include in the department’s program the operationalization of the regular district office of the LTO in the municipality of Alabel, province of Sarangani, the funding of which shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.”


The three laws which he co-authored are Republic Act No. 10777 – An Act declaring Sept. 1 of every year a special nonworking holiday in the province of North Cotabato in commemoration of its founding anniversary; Republic Act No. 10679 – An Act promoting entrepreneurship and financial literacy program among the Filipino youth by instituting mechanisms and strategies; and Republic Act No. 10699 – An Act expanding the coverage of incentives granted to national athletes and coaches and appropriating funds, repealing for the purpose Republic Act No. 9064, also known as the National Athletes, Coaches and Trainers Benefits and Incentives Act of 2001.


"Kung makaya natin i-perfect, bakit hindi?” Pacquiao told reporters in Davao City, where he played hoops with close aides of incoming president Rodrigo Duterte.


Since the Philippines first competed in the Summer Games in 1924, Filipino athletes have won only two silver medals, courtesy of boxers Anthony "Boy" Villanueva in Rome in 1964 and Mansueto "Onyok"  Velasco in Atlanta in 1996.


Add seven more bronze medals, two of them by swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso, and the country could only show a total nine medals in 92 years of participation in the Olympic Games. Other Filipino bronze medalists are pugs Joe "Cely" Vilanauevas, Anthony's father,  Leopoldo Serrantes and Roel Velasco, high jumper Simeon Toribio and hurdler Miguel White. 


Last year, during a world Olympic qualifying tournament hed in Dubai, AIBA president, Dr. Wu Ching-Kuo of Taiwan invited Pacquiao to compete as "wild card" in what is acknowledged as the "Greatest Sports Show on Earth" since the international federation has decided to allow pro boxers fight there.  


The Alliance of Boxing Associatios of the Philippines (ABAP) gave Pacquiao until last week to decide to give the local association time to name candidates to the final Olympic qualifying tourmamend set in Azerbaijan on June 19.  


ABAP is likely to name Dennis Galvan, Ian Clark Bautista, Mario Fernandez and Eumir Marcial to carry the country;s colorsw in the Azerbaijan tournament. 


Lightweight Charly Suarez and light flyweight Rogen Ladon, who brought home  a silver medal each  in the AIBA Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament held earlier, had already earned their tickets to Rio. (Eddie G. Alinea/PhilAmPress/PhlTodayUSA)


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NEW YORK ― Filipino lightweight Harmonito “Hammer” dela Torre of General Santos City remained undefeated after scoring a successful debut in the United States via a majority decision over Guillermo Sanchez the other week at the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino in Niagara Falls, New York.


Dela Torre improved his ring record to 18 straight wins with 12 knockouts while Sanchez dropped to 15-19-1.


Two judges scored it in favor of Dela Torre at 78-74 and 77-75 while the third judge saw it even at 76-all.


It was not, however, a good performance for Dela Torre according to his young manager Jim Claude “JC” Manangquil, chief executive officer of the Sanman Promotions.


“(But) it was a good learning experience for him. It was hard for him to recover from the jetlag and he also hurt his right hand in the 4th round,” said Manangquil, who was accompanied by Danny McDermott.


The 22-year-old Dela Torre’s right hand got swollen but is now okay. “It’s just a slight injury,” said Manangquil.


Sanchez started strong in the opening round and tagged Dela Torre with his left to keep him at bay. But Dela Torre came back stronger in the next rounds to dominate the 8-rounder fight against Sanchez.


“I’m happy for the win but I know I have a lot more to improve,” said Dela Torre.


Manangquil said that Dela Torre will now stay in Miami to continue training with his new Cuban coach Osmiri "'Moro" Fernandez. 


"He (Dela Torre) will be back better,” said Mananquil.


The fight was promoted by Greg Cohen Promotions and was shown live from Niagara Falls, NY on CBS Sports Network as part of their Fridayevening boxing program - CBS Sports Spectacular Fight Night.

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BACOLOD CITY — World Boxing Organization (WBO) light flyweight champion Donnie Nietes floored Mexico's Raul Garcia twice and pummeled his foe many times forcing him to retire in the sixth round to retain his title for ninth time at the St. La Salle  Coliseum here the other week.

Nietes' win sets the stage fora landmark fight in the United States this September.


Boxing analysts said it was a surprisingly easy victory for Nietes (now 38-1-4 with 22 KOs), who continues to be one of boxing’s longest reigning champions.

Garcia (36-4-1 with 23 KOs) came into the bout armed with a fearsome reputation of being an iron-chinned puncher, but after receiving a lot from Nietes, he refused to continue with the fight after the fifth round, awarding Nietes a technical knockout.

But Nietes’ power was on full display on a night when a loss was not a viable option. “The body blows also softened him up,” said the 34-year-old Nietes, who hasn’t lost in almost ten years.


Nietes can now focus on either the 10th defense of the WBO 108-lb title against mandatory challenger Moises Fuentes of Mexico or a crack at the world flyweight diadem of Juan Francisco Estrada, the tormentor of Filipino fighters.

Michael Aldeguer, Nietes’ promoter, said the Filipino world champion has been lined up for a Sept. 24 appearance at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.


Earlier, King Arthur Villanueva was awarded a third-knockout win over Juan Jimenez of Mexico, who went down for the count after ramming against the Filipino’s head. The fight was so action-packed that Jimenez scored a knockdown in the first round and Villanueva got back at him in the second round.


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DAVAO CITY ― Current World Boxing Federation (WBF) world super featherweight champion Harmolito "Hammer" dela Torre of General Santos City will fight for the first time in the United States on May 28(Manila time).


"Hammer, however, will now be facing Puerto Rican Guillermo Sanchez for 8 rounds at the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino, Niagara Falls in New York,” said young manager Jim Claude “JC” Manangquil, chief executive officer of Sanman Promotions.


Dela Torre was supposed to fight Wanzell “Venom” Ellison of New Jersey, USA last Oct. 23 at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona. But the late release of his visa resulted to the cancellation of the fight.


“We would like to thank American promoter Greg Cohen for giving him again another chance to fight in the US," said Mananquil.


Dela Torre has previously scored a 2nd round technical knockout against Richard Betos last November 14 in Maasim, Sarangani Province.


His fight against Betos was a tune-up after his early schedule in the US was already cancelled.

Della Torre, an orthodox, has remained undefeated with 17 straight wins, 12 by knockouts, while the southpaw Sanchez is toting 15 wins, 18 loses and 1 draw.


“I’m really, really very happy and excited that my fight in the US will finally push through,” said the 22-year old Dela Torre, who is also both a former WBF International and Philippine Boxing Federation (PBF) super featherweight champion.


The 5-foot-8 Dela Torre has been training for his US debut since early this year.


“Ganun talaga si Hammer, kahit wala pa siyang schedule lagi siyang nasa gym para maging handa (Hammer is like that even he haa no fight he is always in the gym. He is always ready)," said Manangquil.


Manangquil hired Ernie Sanchez (15W-7L-1D) of Highland Stable as one of Dela Torre’s sparring partners at the Sanman Gym in General Santos City.


He also spars with fellow stablemate Adam Diu “Big Daddy” Abdulhamid, a lightweight with record of 9 wins and only 2 defeats.


Dela Torre, who has won his last seven fights all by KO, captured the vacant WBF world super featherweight title by knocking out Isack Junior of Indonesia in the 4th round at the Lagao Gym Gensan on Sept. 13, 2014.


He also fought twice and won both of them against two Indonesian fighters held at the Cotai Arena, Venetian Resort in Macao. Dela Torre first knocked out Jason Butar Butar on Nov. 24, 2013 then stopped Yakobus Heluka on Feb. 22, 2014.


The 27-year-old Sanchez, on the other hand, last won by a first round KO over Pablo Batres on Feb. 20, 2015 at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York.


However, the 5-foot-9 Sanchez previously bowed to 34-year old Demond Brock via a 2nd round TKO last March 20 in New Jersey.

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CEBU CITY ― Undefeated super bantamweight prospect Albert Pagara got his wish of a tough fight against dangerous former world title challenger Cesar Juarez in his return to the United States.


"I have been asking for this fight for so long. This should be a great fight because he is a warrior, he even gave Nonito Donaire a hard fight," Pagara said.


"It's a good thing that I have been givena fight like this because it should prove where I should be at my career," Pagara said.


Pagara faces Juarez in ALA Promotions' second US event on July 9 at the San Mateo Event Center in San Francisco, California.


"Just finalized with Zanfer. It's on," said ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer.


"'Prince' Albert Pagara vs. Cesar Juarez on July 9 in San Francisco at the San Mateo Event Center. We know that it would be a dangerous fight and is a risk of his World Boxing Organization (WBO) No. 2 world ranking. But again, just like (Mark) Magsayo, we need to find out ifhe has what it takes to be a world champion," Aldeguer said.


The 24-year-old Juarez rose up to prominence after giving Filipino superstar Nonito Donaire Jr. a run for his money.


Juarez lost to Donaire Jr. by unanimous decision last Dec. 11 in Puerto Rico in a fight that was in the running for "Fight of the Year".


"Juarez gave Nonito one of the toughest fights of his career. So this should be another exciting fight. This will be a make-or-break fight for Albert," said Aldeguer.


Juarez, 17-5 with 13 knockouts, is on somewhat of a funk, because after losing to Donaire Jr. he dropped a split decision against Giovanni Delgado in March.


Since his pro debut in 2011, ALA Promotions has given Pagara a handful of tests, like Raul Hirales and William Gonzalez, but somehow he has hurdled them all.


The 22-year-old Pagara, 26-0 with 18 knockouts, is coming off a lopsided unanimous verdict over Yesner Talavera.


He has lofty rankings in three of the four major boxing governing bodies, 2nd in the World Boxing Organization (WBO), fourth in the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and 12th in the World Boxing Council (WBC).


"This should be a war," said Pagara.


"That's why I'm preparing myself hard. It is an important fight because my No. 2 ranking is at stake. I'm very close at a world title shot and losing could change all that," he said.

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