Veteran Filipino coach Nonoy Neri - a man who helped boxing icon Manny Pacquiao in many of the Pacman’s legendary battles - feels confident in the power and skills of his promising new fighter, Vincent "Asero" Astrolabio.

Astrolabio will be matched against tough Russian Nikolai Potapov (23-2-1, 11 KO’s), when the two warriors collide in a crucial IBF bantamweight world title eliminator on Saturday, December 17, in Las Vegas. The contest will be part of a Showtime televised tripleheader, headlined by the lightweight battle between Frank Martin and Michel Rivera.

World-ranked #6 by the IBF, the 25-year-old General Santos City-native from the MP Boxing stable will enter the most important fight of his life when he aims to trade heavy artillery against the experienced IBF #3 Potapov; and coach Neri could not feel more positive.

Back in February, Astrolabio (17-3, 12 KOs) pulled off a shocking unanimous decision win over former world champ and two-time Olympic gold medal winner Guillermo Rigondeaux in Dubai. Rigondeaux was down in the eight round.

"That was a really good win over a very talented, complicated boxer. Now, we are ready to win an even more important battle," said Neri.  

Notably, the 12-round eliminator is of the utmost importance because the winner becomes a mandatory IBF challenger to the bantamweight world champion, Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue.

“I am very excited to make my U.S. debut on December 17,” said Astrolabio. “I want to thank my promoter Manny Pacquiao and my whole team for making this dream come true. I’m honored to be fighting in a world title eliminator. I truly feel that I earned this opportunity with my victory over Rigondeaux. This is my first fight on Showtime and I’m training hard to make it a memorable one.”

The author veteran boxing writer Carlos Costa can be reached at, and Whatsapp +639184538152.