Photos by ALA Boxing Promotions
World ranked AJ “Bazooka” Banal (22-1, 18 KOs) of the Philippines will face his biggest name to date this Saturday. Banal faces former two-time divisional world champion Luis Perez (26-4, 17 KOs) of Nicaragua. The bout will take place at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel, in Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines. Ala boxing will promote the show. Fightnews spoke with Banal as he closed out his training camp for his fight with Perez.
Perez, like yourself, is a Southpaw. Is that more comfortable for you or more awkward?
It does not matter. In our gym, I spar with both orthodox and southpaws.
This fight is being fought at a contract of a 120 lb maximum weight limit. You have never fought on record above 119 where Perez has fought as high as 126. Do you see any advantage for Perez with this weight?
I think it is more of a disadvantage on his side because he has to reduce where as in my case, going up one more pound is no big deal. The weigh-in weight of 120 lbs is more favorable for me while Perez has to lose some weight to make 120 lbs. By fight time we will be weighing more or less just the same.
You are generally the aggressor in your fights. Will you have to adjust your style with Perez being a serious puncher in his own right?
I am an adjustable fighter. I adjust depending on the kind of style my opponent is but not at the expense of letting them dictate the tempo. I think I have more power in my fists as shown in my knockout percentage.
Would you say this is without a doubt your toughest fight to date?
On paper, it seems to be because Perez is a two division world champion. However, I have had also tough fights like with current IBF junior bantamweight champion Francisco Alberto Rosas whom I defeated in Las Vegas on May 5, 2007.
You are already highly world ranked. How much closer to a world title fight do you think you will be with a victory over Perez?
It all depends on my manager and promoter. If they say, I fight for the world title tomorrow then I will do so.