by Ronnie Nathanielsz
WBO minimumweight champion Merlito “Tiger” Sabillo has vowed to defeat Mexican challenger Francisco “Titanium” Rodriguez Jr when he defends his world title in the backyard of the 20 year old in Monterrey on Saturday.
A former street fighter from Bacolod City, Sabillo sharpened his physical condition and his boxing skills during an almost one month training stint in the US including some furious sparring at the Wild Card Gym of trainer Freddie Roach and the gym of former world champion Daniel Ponce De Leon before tapering off in San Diego.
Trainer Edito “Ala” Villamor said Sabillo had the best training camp ever and attributed his tremendous physical condition to the work done by strength and conditioning coach Nick Curson.
Sabillo is not expected to have any problems making the 105 limit at the official weigh in on Saturday for the fight which will be telecast by ABS-CBN Sports and Action on the revamped Studio 23 at 12:00 noon on Sunday from the Arena Monterrey.
Sabillo was quoted as saying “I know little of the Mexican. Just that he’s very young. He must have talent to be looking for a world title, but I’m ready. I’m fully confident that I will continue as champion. We had a great camp and even in the backyard of my challenger I’ll defeat him.”
Sabillo who won the title from the fancied Luis De La Rosa of Colombia in Colombia and then successfully defended it was a 9th round TKO of another Colombian Jorlie Estrada in Manila said “fights between Mexicans and Filipinos are guarantees of a great fights and Saturday against Rodriguez will be no exception. I’m coming to give everything in the ring.”
Sabillo is undefeated with a record of 23-0-1 with 12 knockouts while Rodriguez has a record of 13-2 and 9 knockouts and is coming off a 5th round TKO of Ernesto Guevarra (17-8, 11 KO’s) last January 18 in Sonora, Mexico.
He also scored a 5th round TKO over Victor Ruiz (11-1, 8 KO’s) on July 13, 2013 in Tijuana and a 3rd round TKO over Manuel “Chango” Vargas on January 26, 2013 although he lost by a 7th round TKO to undefeated world light flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez of Nicaragua (35-0, 9 KO’s) on September 21, 2013 in Managua, Nicaragua in a fight which was reportedly stopped prematurely. Tags: Merlito Sabillo