By Carlos Costa

Filipino WBC Asian Flyweight titlist Raymond Tabugon will be immersed in the most important battle of his life when he climbs to the ring to exchange blows against South African IBO International Jr. Flyweight champion Luzuko Siyo (13-2, 10 KO's) on Friday (Dec 12) in East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

The Cagayan de Oro southpaw   -  in his first fight outside of the Philippines -   arrived in South Africa on Monday (Dec 8) and is ready to take on the hard-banging Siyo who last June stopped fellow Filipino Macrea Gandionco (10-2-1, 6 KO's).

"Tabugon is in great condition," assures Tabugon's manager Jim Claude Manangquil of Gensan's Sanman Promotions.

"We know he is in a tough assignment against a good South African boxer.

"But Ray (Tabugon) is a tough fighter too... even tougher than Gandionco.  

"In addition, my boxer has stayed in South Africa for five days, getting acclimatised to South African time (6 hours behind Philippine time).   

"So we all hope that he performs good tomorrow,"

The 23-year-old Tabugon (14-3-1, 6 KO's) is in South Africa assisted by Filipino coach Jose Valendez of Sanman Gym.


The card is headlined by former WBA Featherweight Super World Champion Simpiwe Vetyeka (26-3, 16 KO's) and 28-year-old Arturo Santos Reyes (18-3, 5 KO's) of Nogales, Sinaloa, Mexico.

The fight marks Vetyeka's return to action after losing by points to Filipino Nonito Donaire (33-3, 21 KO's) last May in Macau, China.   Prior to that defeat, Vetyeka had knocked out and retired durable former champ Chris John.

Vetyeka's battle against Reyes might not be a walk in the park as the Mexican is not only a tough combatant and former Olympian, but also an experienced one, having been in close wars against former champions Fernando Montiel and Hozumi Hasegawa.

The Friday card in East London, South Africa, is a production of promoter Andile Sidinile of Sijuta Promotions.