By Ronnie Nathanielsz
MANILA, Philippines—AJ “Bazooka” Banal battles tough, undefeated Mexican champion Mario “Maca” Briones on the undercard of the WBO light flyweight championship between former minimumweight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes and reigning 108-pound champion Ramon Garcia Hirales also of Mexico.
The fight card scheduled at the University of St. La Salle Gymnasium in Bacolod City on October 8 will see the 22-year-old southpaw Banal, who has a record of 25-1-1 with 19 knockouts clash with the 25-year-old Briones, who has a record of 20-0-1 with 14 knockouts.
Banal is coming off an unimpressive eighth-round technical decision over Canada’s Tyson Cave last July 30, when a nasty gash above Banal’s right eyebrow which was caused by an accidental clash of heads forced the ring physician to instruct referee Tony Pesons to call a halt and go to the scorecards of the judges.
All three judges had Banal the winner.
Banal had earlier captured the WBO Asia Pacific bantamweight title with a cracking second-round knockout of Francis Miyeyusho on March 19.
ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer said the only way to find out how far his fighters are capable of going is to match them against tough, credible opponents.
In the case of Banal they decided to get Briones who is coming off a fourth-round knockout of Ulises Castillo last July 16.