By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Exciting Merlito “Tiger” Sabillo is ready to do battle against unbeaten Nicaraguan Carlos Buitrago, the WBO Interim minimum weight champion in a superb double-world championship fight card at the famed Araneta Coliseum on November 30.
WBO Asia Pacific vice president Leon Panoncillo informed the Manila Standard that the referee for the title fight will be Jack Reiss of California while the judges will be Levi Martinez of New Mexico, William Lerch of Chicago and Takeshi Shimakawa of Japan with Panoncillo the WBO fight supervisor.
In the WBO light flyweight title fight, long reigning champion Donnie Nietes will defend his title against Mexico’s Sammy “Guty” Gutierrez as ALA Promotions in cooperation with the giant broadcast network team up to bring big-time boxing to the famed “Mecca of Philippine Sports and Entertainment.”
Trainer and former world title challenger Edito “Ala” Villamor told the Manila Standard that both Sabillo and Nietes have been “training hard, in good condition and ready to defend their crowns” before an expected large hometown crowd.
Villamor said Sabillo has probably the tougher assignment and they have been “studying fight tapes of Buitrago from every angle and looking for weaknesses to capitalize on.”
He credited the 21 year old Buitrago who has a record of 27-0 with 16 knockouts as a “good and skilful fighter” and they would “look for where we can get him.”
It will be Sabillo’s second defense of the title he won with an 8th round TKO over Luis De La Rosa of Colombia on March 9. IN his first defense Sabillo won by a crushing 9th round knockout of Colombia’s Jorlie Estrada last July 13.
Reporter Julio Garcia of The Boxing Voice reported that Buitrago feels it won’t be an easy task as Sabillo is no joke and fighting the champion at the champion’s home ensures that the odds are already against him.
Noting that Sabillo has knocked out his opponents in his two title fights, Garcia said Sabillo “will be looking to make sure that Buitrago does not come in to take what is his , especially at home.”
The 31 year old Nietes who has a record of 31-1-4 with 17 knockouts is coming off a majority draw against Mexico’s Moises Fuentes in his last title defense on March 2 while his opponent, Gutierrez is 27 years old and has a record of 33-9-2 with 23 knockouts.
However, Gutierrez who scored a 5th round TKO over Filipino Roilo Golez to win the vacant WBC Silver title on October 1, 2011 and had back-to-back TKO wins over Josue Vega (TKO 8) on August 18, 2012 and Edgar Martinez (TKO 3) on October 13 last year, suffered a 3rd round TKO against former world champion and hard-hitting southpaw Raul “Rayito” Garcia last December 22.
Celestino Ruiz of Chicago will be the third man in the ring for the Nietes title defense with Jack Reiss, Levi Martinez and the Philippines Danrex Tapdasan as the WBO assigned judges.