By Ronnie Nathanielsz
World Boxing Organization (WBO) Oriental Mini flyweight Champion Rommel Asenjo who is ranked No. 2 in the world by the WBO, gets a shot at the vacant world title when he battles Interim champion Raul "Rayito" Garcia on April 30 in Mexico.
The title was relinquished by current champion Donnie Nietes of the ALA Gym who has decided to move up to light flyweight in the hope of getting a title crack in the future against champion Giovanni Segura.
The title fight of Asenjo was worked out by ALA Promotions which now promotes Asenjo and two other fighters of former North Cotabato governor Manny Pilol’s Braveheeart Boxing Gymwhich now promotes Asenjo and two other Braveheart boxers from North Cotabato.
The 21 year old Asenjo, like many of the promising young fighters in the south is a farmer's son from the frontier town of Pigcawayan, North Cotabato. He will be the first Braveheart boxer to get a crack at a legitimate world boxing title.
In June last year, another Braveheart boxer, Edrin Dapudong of M'lang, stunned Mexican boxing by scoring a first round knockout of No. 1 ranked Jesus Jimenez to win the World Boxing Council Flyweight Silver title. He lost the title, considered as a junior belt, in his first defense in September of last year amidst some controversy over several cuts discovered on Dapudong’s arms and back after the fight.
Asenjo who is nicknamed the "Little Assassin" by his handlers because of his ruthless and aggressive fighting style Asenjo has a record of 20 wins with 16 knockouts and only two losses, both by decision.
Friendly and pleasant outside Asenjo is totally different when he steps into the ring prompting Braveheart’s chief trainer Noli Pinol to describe his fighter as a "sadist" when he puts on the gloves because he loves to punish his opponents. Asenjo has often gotten into trouble during fights and been slapped with point deductions for hitting his opponent while already down and even after the bell ending the round has sounded.
Ex governor Pinol said he has " warned him about this and he has been told never to do that in a world championship fight because he could get disqualified."
The title fight is certain to be one of the toughest for Asenjo as Garcia , one of two boxing brothers from Mexico, is a 28-year-old veteran and former world champion himself who won the title from Filipino Florante Condes by a split decision in his hometown of La Paz on June 14, 2008.
He defended the International Boxing Federation (IBF) title four times before losing it to undefeated South African fighter Nkosinathi Joyi ( 21-0, 15 KO’s) in a lopsided unanimous decision on March 26, 2010 in South Africa. Garcia came back to win the WBO Interim title with a twelve round split decision over undefeated Luis de la.Rosa (14-0-1, 8 KO’s) on October 30 last year despite being dropped once in the opening round.
A southpaw like Asenjo, Garcia holds an impressive record of 29 wins with 17 knockouts, one loss and one draw. He also has the advantage of fighting in his own territory.
Pinol believes "Asenjo will have to win this fight by knockout," which he is confident can be done since the ex governor said me Asenjo has “tremendous punching power.”
The Filipino Oriental champion will prepare for the world championship fight in the Braveheart Boxing Farm at the foot of Mt. Apo, the tallest mountain in the country which overlooks Davao City. He and his team are expected to fly to Mexico a few days before the fight.