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‘Asero’ seeks knockout win vs ‘The Jackal’

· Sports On Air Weekly

MANILA - FIT as a fiddle.

That’s how Filipino champion Vincent “Asero” Astrolabio describes himself exactly nine days before his much-awaited World Boxing Council (WBC) International Bantamweight title fight against two-time Olympian Guillermo “The Jackal” Rigondeaux of Cuba on February 26 at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai.

Astrolabio, ever so eager to make his presence felt in the crowded bantamweight division, is looking to slug it out with the older but more-experienced Cuban champion right in the opening bell and knock him out in five to six rounds of action.

“Kung may chance na ma-knock out sya agad, I’ll go for it. Hindi maaring bigyan ng pagkakataon si Rigondeaux. Magaling din sya,” said Astrolabio during the seventh “Sports On Air Weekly” program via Zoom on Thursday.

Asked about the chances of a quick ending in their scheduled 12-round title fight, Astrolabio said: “Kung kakayanin, siguro mga fifth or sixth round tapusin ko ang laban.”

“Gaya nga ng sinasabi nila sa akin, kailangan pasukin ko siya at labanan ng sabayan. Kailangan ako ang mag-dikta ng laban. Sa gaya ni Rigondeaux na madami ding fighting styles, hindi pwedeng boxing-boxing lang,” said the 24-year-old fighter from General Santos City, who holds a respectable record of 16-3 win-loss, including 12 by knockouts.

“Sa nakita kong huling laban niya, hindi na ganun kabilis si Rigondeaux gaya ng dati. May kahinaan na din sa bilis ng suntok.”

His veteran coach, Nonoy Neri, is just as confident.

“Kapag hindi siya (Rigondeaux) tumakbo at nakipagsabayan siya, goodbye siya. Pag tinamaan siya ni Astrolabio, hindi magtagal yan. Siguradong titiklop siya.”

“Kaya ang bilin ko nga kay Vincent, huwag mag dalawang isip sa itaas ng ring. Ang game plan, huwag bigyan ng pagkakataon na makasuntok si Rigo pero huwag din masyado lalayo. May pressure lagi. Pag hindi namin pinasok, malayo kami manalo.”

Neri, who also worked in the corner of boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, said the age difference will also be a major factor during the fight.

“Sa totoo lang, magaling at mautak na boxer yan si Rigo. I respect him a lot. Pero sa edad niya ngayon, hindi na siya kagaya ng dati. Iba yung Rigondeaux na nakita kong tinalo ni John Riel (Casimero) via split decision last year. Iba yung Rigondeaux dati na mga 10 years ago,” expalined Neri.

“At 24, si Vincent, bata pa. Matagal ko na siyang alaga. Nakita ko na talagang determinado siyang manalo. Yung willingness to win laging nandun. This is a big opportunity for him to give the boxing world a good fight. And I know he can beat Rigondeaux.”

Neri also said the Cuban champion was lucky to beat another Filipino great, Nonito “The Flash” Donaire in 2013.

“Sa Rigondeaux-Donaire fight, nakita ko parang medyo mataas yun kumpiyansa ni Donaire. Nandun na yung pangalan. Masyadong naging kumpiyansa kaya natalo,”explained Neri.

Astrolabio and Neri are scheduled to leave for Dubai on Friday, or more than week before fight night.

“Pagdating sa Dubai, light training na lang kami. Konting pa-kundisyon. Wala naman kaming naging problema sa timbang. Pagdating ng laban, handa na kami.” 

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