By Ronnie Nathanielsz
World rated Filipino southpaw AJ “Bazooka” Banal, one of the most promising prospects from the famed ALA Gym will train under former world champion and respected trainer Robert Garcia.
Banal is currently ranked No. 3 by the IBF, No. 4 by the WBA, No. 6 by the WBO and No. 12 by the WBC.
ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer said he visited Garcia’s Boxing Academy in South Oxnard, California in mid-April and discussed the possibility of initially training Banal “one hundred percent” and later on other ALA fighters.
Garcia trains WBC/WBO bantamweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire who won the titles with a spectacular 2nd round knockout of Mexican veteran Fernando “KO-Chulito” Montiel last February 19 and also WBA lightweight champion Brandon Rios who won the title with a 10th round TKO of Miguel Acosta one week later.
Garcia told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that he was expecting to pick up DVDs of some of Banal’s fights and that after previewing the fight “hopefully we can go from there and see whether we can do something for Banal.”
Garcia said he would “love to get some of the ALA fighters” to train at his Boxing Academy which Aldeguer described as a very nice gym. He said that Banal is scheduled to fight on July 30 and would like him to train in Oxnard for that fight.
Aldeguer said they also discussed the possibility of Garcia visiting Cebu for the Banal fight and working his corner. He recalled that Garcia had seen Banal score an impressive ten round decision over Jose Angel Beranza on the undercard of the IBF title defense of Brian Viloria who Garcia trained, against Jesus Iribe in Honolulu on August 29, 2009.
Aldeguer said he had earlier discussed the plan to have some of the ALA boxer train under Garcia with his father, respected boxing patron Tony Aldeguer and they agreed it was time to send some of the more promising young fighters to train abroad and they chose Garcia.
Michael Aldeguer said they realized what Garcia had done for Donaire and liked his style. He said he would wait for word from Garcia after the trainer previews the fight tapes they sent him.
Meantime, Garcia said Donaire is in Hawaii on a week-long vacation, He said he had told Donaire that he had to ride on his spectacular knockout victory over Montiel and that “hopefully we could get something within two months.
Garcia agreed that a possible super bantamweight title fight against WBO champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr “will be a good one” for Donaire provided Vazquez wins in his title defense against Mexican warrior Jorge Arce on the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley undercard on at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 7.