By Abner Galino
FILIPINO American pride has been tickled anew recently as two kababayan fighters held a press conference at the Filipino Cultural Center (FCC) in Los Angeles to drumbeat their upcoming battle against each other for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) super flyweight division crown.
The said WBO title fight is another history in the making as it will mark the third time that Filipino fighters faced each other for a world title.
Three division world champion and longest Filipino reigning champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes is scheduled to slug it out with countryman Aston ‘Mighty’ Palicte on September 8 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
The fight is set to broadcast on HBO.
Last May 26, International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight champion Jerwin Ancajas retained his world boxing belt against fellow Filipino fighter Jonas Sultan during their fight in Fresno, California.
Looking back some 93 years ago – the last time that two Filipino fighters fought against each other for a world title belt was when the legendary boxer Francisco “Pancho Villa” Guilledo slugged it out with fellow kababayan Clever Sencio. Pancho Villa won that fight which was held in Manila, Philippines. By the time Pancho Villa and Guilledo fought, the former is already the world flyweight title champion for two years.
Going back to the impending contest between Nietes and Palicte, their press conference at the Filipino Cultural Center (FCC) was hosted by Filipino American Cynthia Conte.
Conte made it known to everyone about her Filipino ethnicity by speaking a couple of Filipino lines as she opened up the press conference for the boxers.
The Filipino dominated guest table also featured Australian-Filipina undercard fighter, “Bang Bang Lulu” Louisa Hawton, (8-1-0, 4 KO’s) of Perth, Australia.
Hawton proudly presented her “Filipino side” during her turn to speak. She will face Brenda Flores, (12-4-1, 2KO’s) of Tijuana, Mexico for the World Boxing Council Women’s Atomweight World Title.
Fighters promise exciting clash
“For me hindi naman siguro advantage yung height para sa akin. Marami na rin naman akong nakalaban na matataas. At the same time hindi naman basketball itong paglalabanan namin, boxing naman, suntukan naman ito. So kahit na anong taas niya makiki sabayan ako. Kasi pinag-aralan naman namin ‘yung istilo niya. Magaling siya, malakas pero pinag-aralan talaga namin kung paano makuha ‘yung style niya,” three division world champion Nietes said during his turn to speak — soliciting laughter from the crowd.
Nietes is three inches shorter than opponent Palicte who stands at 5’ 7”.
For his part, Palicte said a win against Nietes might just be the start of his childhood dream becoming real.
“Bata pa po ako, nangangarap na po akong maging world champion,” he told the crowd. “Yung training namin doble. Sabi nila bakit dalawang Pilipino raw (who would fighting), hindi, sa akin trabaho lang po. Sport lang.”
Fight promoter Tom Loeffler of 360 Promotions noted that the fight between Nietes and Palicte triggers mixed emotions for Filipino American fight fans.
“But it showed the quality of the Filipino boxers, these two world class fighter – ranked number 1 and number 2 in the world – fighting for the vacant title. So the Philippines should be proud that they will have another world champion after September 8,” Loeffler added.
Loeffler has been known as the promoter for middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
On Wednesday (August 29), Nietes and Palicte a both held workouts for the media at Freddie Roach’s Wildcard Gym in Los Angeles.
The clash between Nietes and Palicte for the WBO world super flyweight title fight is a co-feature match on the so-called “Superfly 3” scheduled on Sep. 8 at The Forum at Inglewood.
To headline the said event is former flyweight and super flyweight world champion Juan Francisco Estrada who will go up against fellow Mexican Felipe Orucuta.
A match up between Japanese Kazuto Ioka and Puerto Rico’s McWilliams Arroyo is also slated on the same event.