By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Promoter Zach Taumafi of KO Promotions in Dubai says the WBC minimumweight title fight between mandatory challenger Denver Cuello of the Philippines and China’s champion Xiong Zhao Zhong at the World Trade Center on Friday will be an acid test for boxing in the United Arab Emirates.
Gulf News reporter Ashley Hammond quoted Taumafi who organized the first world title fight in Dubai long before talk of a proposed welterweight title fight between Amir Khan and Devon Alexander and who had previously wanted to stage a fight involving eight division world chanmpion Manny Pacquiao, said the Cuello-Zhong battle will gauge boxing’s long term chance of success in the UAE.
Taumafi who first organized a fight card involving ALA Promotions and ABS-CBN headlined by Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista who scored a 6th round knockout over Thailand’s Saichon Sotompitak at The Lodge, Chi Garden on April 23, 2010 said “Everyone is sitting back now and waiting to see how the first world title fight in Dubai goes. If it’s successful everyone will jump on the bandwagon and do the same, but if it fails they will all laugh at us.”
Following its initial venture in Dubai, ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer leaves for the United Arab Emirates on Friday along with vice president Dennis Canete. Aldeguer told the Manila Standard he was going to the UAE “ to assess the situation in Dubai for the staging of another ALA fight card.”
Aldeguer said he would discuss plans with The Filipino Channel’s Middle East Bureau officials to possibly stage a world title defense of WBO light flyweight champion Donnie Nietes sometime in September.
In the past, Chris Eubank scored a 4th round knockout over Camilo Alarcon at the Dubai Tennis Stadium on March 27, 1997 while heavyweight Michael Moorer knocked out Shelby Gross in the 1st round at Shaikh Rashid Hall on February 8, 2008.
Taumafi believes that a fight card needs three bouts from outside UAE aside from the main event and a roster of local fighters which is the major problem since, he said, “unfortunately local boxing doesn’t have the caliber.” He said “we need to rebuild local boxing because its been destroyed by people who think they can make a fast buck from one event."