By Abner Galino and Joy Marino
PHILIPPINES against the world.
The line may not convey a very thrilling prospect at first glance, but if only limited to boxing, it certainly sets off great excitement. Because as far as boxing is concerned, our boxers have proven that they are a power to contend with and that they could face fighters from any country anytime and anywhere.
Philippines vs. the World is actually happening at Stub Hub Center in Carson, California on October 17. The Filipino boxing contingent is headlined by WBO Jr. flyweight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes (36-4, 21 KOs), the longest reigning Filipino champion, who will defend his crown against Mexican Juan “Pinky” Alejo.
Joining him in the card are undefeated IBF Inter-continental super bantamweight champion “Prince” Albert Pagara and IBF youth featherweight champion Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo (11- 0, 9 KOs).
Pagara will be facing Nicaraguan knockout artist William “Chirizo” Gonzales (25-5, 23 KOs) for the WBO International Jr. featherweight championship.
Magsayo is defending his crown against undefeated Mexican Yardley Suarez (13-0, 8KOs).
Albert’s brother, Jason “El Nino” Pagara (36-2, 22KOs) will fight against another Nicaraguan, Santos “El Toro” Benavidez (27-7-2, 19 KOs).
The Filipino boxers are all making their debut in the US — and what a moment to debut here through the promotion partnership of ALA International, ABS-CBN Sport + Action and TFC, a global brand that distributes premium and on demand channel showing Filipino content on multiple platforms.
In a press conference in Glendale on Friday, ALA International President and CEO Michael Aldeguer told the media that the scheduled event in Carson City is a continuation of the very successful “Pinoy Pride” series of boxing fights.
The fight series earned remarkable ratings particularly in the Visayas and Mindanao regions which are hotbeds of boxing. It was also warmly received by overseas Filipinos in Middle East and were known as “Pinoy Pride 27” in 2014 and “Pinoy Pride 32” last August, both were billed as “Duel in Dubai.”
Aldeguer said they decided to take the action to California because it is the home of largest Filipino population in the US.
Jun del Rosario, head of carriage-ABS-CBN North America, added that the multimedia conglomerate, see the endeavor as a part of its commitment to chronicle the aspirations and the journeys of Filipino overseas workers.
Del Rosario said the boxers personify the struggles of OFWs who leave the homeland to give their family hope and opportunities for the future.
“They exemplify the reasons why Filipinos leave the homeland and face challenges abroad,” del Rosario explained.
Another ABS-CBN North America official, Ricky Ressureccion, urged everyone at the press conference to not only pass the word around about the scheduled fights but as well as to actually try to bring fellow Filipinos to the event.
“Parang election din yan,” Resureccion said, “it is not enough that you register. You have to actually vote.”
In a press release distributed that same day, ABS-CBN Global COO Raffy Lopez said the upcoming event is a “huge sports and multicultural celebration that shows what our partnership is capable of bringing to the U.S boxing scene.”
“It is with much honor and pleasure that we are launching this sports milestone during National Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S and will hold the actual event during Filipino American History Month, underscoring the international flavor of these matches,” Lopez added.