By Ryan Maquiñana
Mercito Gesta will return to the ring in late July at a venue to be determined in a 10-rounder against junior welterweight contender Olusegun Ajose, according to Gesta’s manager, Vince Parra.
“We accepted the fight a couple weeks ago, and now they’re working on the site, but everything looks set to go on our end,” Parra told BoxingScene.com.
Gesta (26-1-1, 14 KOs) is coming off an unsuccessful lightweight world title challenge against Miguel Vazquez last December on the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez IV undercard.
After the loss, he took some time off in his native Mandaue City, Philippines, before returning to San Diego, Calif., and making a change in his corner as he moves up in weight.
“He’s working with his dad [Anecito Sr.] more on conditioning and training, and I’m sitting back and focusing more on the management side,” Parra said. “I’m still going to be assistant trainer, but this is something he’s always wanted as a kid, especially since his dad is now here from the Philippines. With him moving up to 140 [pounds], it’s something he wanted to try out, and I support him 100 percent.”
Gesta’s father isn’t the only addition to camp. Mercito’s little brother Anecito Jr. (2-1), a junior lightweight, is set to make his American debut on May 24 against debutant Kenny McClain in San Diego.
“Mercito’s really excited about his brother being here, too, and I think it’s motivating him to work harder in the gym,” Parra said.
Ajose (31-1, 14 KOs), from Lagos, Nigeria, bounced back from a 10th-round stoppage loss to Lucas Matthysse for an interim world title with a points victory over Rynell Griffin last month.
“I watched his fight with Matthysse,” Parra said of Ajose. “He’s a tough, strong guy. He’s got decent skills, but at the same time, he’s beatable.”
As for Gesta, Parra is optimistic that his fighter’s best days are ahead.
“Nobody’s making any excuses for what happened in December. He’s trying to put the past to rest, and it’s a good opportunity,” Parra said. “He’s trying to get back in the mix to fight for a title. There’s a lot of good fights at 140 and this is the quickest way back to the top. It’s a new year and he’s ready to come back out and surprise some people.”
Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com during London 2012 and writes a weekly column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at [email protected], check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.