Report and photo by Dennis Principe
World Boxing Organization minimumweight champion Merlito “Tiger” Sabillo of the Philippines kept his crown when he stopped Colombian challenger Jorle Estrada in the 9th round of their 12-round title fight held Saturday night at the Solaire Resort & Casino in Pasay City. The 29-year-old Sabillo showed the explosiveness that made him a world champion when he dropped Estrada with a vicious counter left to the body. Estrada crumpled in the neutral corner and was counted out by referee Raul Caiz, Jr. at 1:09 of the 9th canto. Before the fight, Sabillo said he trained hard for this fight as he expected Estrada to run around the ring which he saw when the Colombian fought former world title challenger Pedro Guevarra of Mexico. “I really wanted to score a knockout but my cornermen told me to be patient and attack the body to slow him down,” said Sabillo. The bout was Sabillo’s first defense of the WBO strap which he won when he stopped Estrada’s compatriot Luis De La Rosa in the eight round last March in Colombia. The 29-year-old Sabillo improves to 23-0 with 12 knockouts while Estrada drops to 17-7, 6 KOs.
On the undercard Sabillo’s ALA Promotions stablemates Arthur Villanueva and two-time world title challenger AJ Banal scored abbreviated wins against outmatched Mexican foes. Villanueva (23-0, 13 KOs) tallied a 4th round TKO win over Arturo Badillo to win the vacant WBO Asia Pacific super flyweight crown. In his first fight as a super bantamweight, Banal (29-2-1, 21 KO’S) registered a 2nd round stoppage when opponent Abraham Gomez refused to fight during the break before the start of the third round