By Ronnie Nathanielsz
WBO minimumweight champion Merlito “Tiger” Sabillo is ready to strike in his first title defense against Colombian challenger Jorlie Estrada at the Solaire Resort Hotel & Casino along picturesque Manila Bay’s Entertainment City on July 13.
The 29 year old Sabillo whose career blossomed after he moved under ALA Promotions isd undefeated and has a record of 21-0 with 11 knockouts while the 24 year old Estrada’s record is 16-6 with 5 knockouts.
Estrada has won his last four fights after suffering a 7th round TKO loss to Mexico’s Pedro Guevara who gave IBF light flyweight champion Johnreil Casimero a tough fight before dropping a narrow twelve round split decision last August 4. Estrada is coming off a 3rd round TKO of Gustavo Cortes last June 8 while Sabillo scored a stunning 8th round TKO over highly touted Luis De La Rosa also of Colombia to win the interim title last March 13 and was soon elevated to full champion after Moises Fuentes relinquished his belt and moved up to light flyweight.
Trainer Edito “Ala” Villamor told the Manila Standard that Sabillo has “looked good” in sparring and is eager to put on a show in his first title defense.
Sabillo sparred with undefeated super flyweight Arthur “El Matador” Villanueva (21-0, 11 KO’s)who will face Mexico” hard-hitting Arturo Badillo (21-4, 19 KO’s) on the Solaire fight card presented by ALA Promotions in cooperation with the giant broadcast network ABS-CBN in its immensely successful “Pinoy Pride” series.
Villamor said Sabillo also sparred with Philippine junior flyweight champion Jerson Mancio Jr _17-3-3, 8 KO’s) and Engelbert Moralde (4-1, 3 KO’s) as well as an amateur standout “primarily for speed.”
He said they have been concentrating in recent months on their fighters nutrition and food intake which runs along the suggestions made by Angel “Memo” Heredia in the case of newly crowned IBO junior bantamweight champion Edrin “The Sting” Dapudong who won the title in a rematch against Gideon Buthelezi with a sensational 1st round knockout in South Africa.
Villamor added that Sabillo who had previously won the Philippine straw-weight title with a twelve round unanimous decision in August 2010 and the vacant Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation minimum weight crown also by a unanimous decision over Rodel Tejares was in excellent shape and would have “no problem making the weight.”