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MANILA, Philippines – Rolando Gabriel Dy, the son of former boxing world champion Rolando Navarrete, is confident that he will capture the vacant Pacific Xtreme Combat (PXC) bantamweight championship in the first title bid of his young career.
The 23-year-old Filipino standout is scheduled to take on one-time title challenger Kyle Aguon in the main event of PXC 45, which takes place at the University of Guam field house in Mangilao, Guam on October 24.
Dy (5-2) earned the right to vie for the 135-pound division’s top prize when he convincingly thumped Korean prospect Han Bin Park via unanimous decision in his opening stint as a bantamweight competitor at PXC 43 this past March.
Prior to his meeting with Park, Dy fought his initial six bouts as a featherweight, holding notable victories over Kyle Reyes, Arex Montalban, Alde de Soza and Ryan Taclan.
Meanwhile, his opponent Aguon (7-4) is coming off a first-round submission of Troy Bantiag in June at PXC 44, where he forced the Team Lakay stalwart to wave the white flag with a Kimura lock.
The 5-foot-9 Guamanian had the opportunity to challenge then-champion Michinori Tanaka for the bantamweight belt at PXC 40 in October 2013, but Aguon failed in his campaign to bring home the silver-plated strap by bowing down to the Japanese combatant by unanimous decision.
Following his win over Aguon, Tanaka vacated the throne in February when he inked an exclusive contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
According to Dy, he sees his marquee match-up with Aguon as an obstacle that he needs to surpass despite his counterpart’s overstated credentials.
Aside from facing Tanaka inside PXC’s Terror Dome, Aguon has outstanding triumphs over UFC signees such as Jon Delos Reyes and Russell Doane.
“It’s weird, but I don’t feel any pressure or fear going into this fight against Kyle Aguon. I think of it more of a challenge because many people believe including his Guamanian fans that it will be an easy fight for him. I’m here to prove them wrong,” Dy tells Rappler.
Dy, a fourth-year Legal Studies student of Lyceum of the Philippines University, stressed that he had a difficult time balancing his academics and mixed martial arts career, but he did not allow these factors to deter his training.
“I can say that I’m having a stressful training camp because I’m trying my best to balance the demands of both my studies and fighting career. However, my current situation did not stop me to train hard for this fight. I’m in top condition right now,” he shared.
Besides owning up to an erratic schedule, he also revealed that head trainer Raysaldo Biagtan will not be in his corner for the title tilt with Aguon, prompting Dy to tap close friend and fellow PXC fighter Josh Sapinoso to stand in as his chief second in Guam.
Dy met the Pangasinan-native kickboxing guru in 2011 when he and his family decided to reside in Dasmariñas, Cavite, and since then, both men worked closely together at Biagtan’s martial arts haven in the same locale.
“I don’t really have a head coach for this fight. Master Ray is currently in Malaysia working as a trainer in T-Rex MMA Gym. I was the one planning out and making schedule for my training. But I will have Josh in my corner come fight night,” Dy mentioned.
Temporarily filling Biagtan’s spot in the training camp is Iranian wrestling coach Ali Heydarabadi, who has been Dy’s grappling instructor since he fought Reyes at PXC 39 in September 2013.
“I made sure to train every art for this title bout, which includes Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing and wrestling. I have to be prepared for Kyle Aguon. We all know where he wants to bring the fight,” Dy said of his foe, who is known for his massive frame and grappling pedigree.
Although he has had only one bantamweight outing as of the moment, Dy asserted that his victory over Park served as a strong justification that he deserves the title shot.
Park scored a third-round upset over Crisanto Pitpitunge in November of last year at PXC 41, where he submitted the former bantamweight champion with a standing rear-naked choke.
“I was able to beat Han Bin Park, who defeated Crisanto Pitpitunge in the past. I guess that’s enough to prove that I deserve the title shot and I’m at the right weight class,” he expressed.
Despite the seemingly insurmountable odds, Dy remains optimistic that he will walk away with the PXC bantamweight title.
“It’s a great pride to represent the Philippines on an international stage like PXC. I will try my best and do everything to bring home the belt,” Dy assures. – Rappler.com