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MANILA, Philippines – What Nonito Donaire Jr. and Johnriel Casimero failed to do, unheralded Vincent Astrolabio hopes to accomplish on Saturday, February 26 at The Lawn Emirates Golf Club in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Astrolabio hopes to knock aging legend Guillermo Rigondeaux out and gain global prominence when they dispute the vacant World Boxing Council inter-continental bantamweight crown.
Donaire, a four-division world champion and sure Hall of Famer, lost to a prime Rigondeaux in 2013, while Casimero, a two-division world champion, settled for a split decision over the two-time Olympic, two-time World Amateur and three-time World Cup boxing champion from Cuba in August 2021.
While Astrolabio isn’t on the level of Donaire and Casimero yet, the native of General Santos City is determined to catch Rigondeaux with the big punch that has stopped his last four opponents en route to a 16-3 record, 12 by knockouts.
Rigondeaux, now based in Miami, Florida, is 20-2 with 13 knockouts.
If the 41-year-old Rigondeaux can no longer run and backpedal the way he did against Casimero, the 24-year-old Astrolabio has a chance of pulling off a major shocker.
Astrolabio trained under Nonoy Neri at the MP (Manny Pacquiao) Boxing Gym in Davao before they proceeded to Dubai on February 19.
Reaping the benefits of their hard training, Atrolabio checked in at a light 117 pounds during Friday’s official weigh-in. Rigondeaux also showed his readiness to atone for the shameful performance against Casimero when he hit the scales at 117.8 pounds.
Neri, one of Pacquiao’s assistant trainers, feels Astrolabio has strong chances of stunning Rigondeaux because of his youth, power punches and big heart.
For another, Astrolabio has beaten all of his seven southpaw opponents thus far.
Filipino international judge Rey Danseco will score the Astrolabio-Rigondeaux bout with Dubai-based Gary Kitanoski of the United Kingdom and Hungarian Bela Florian.
Another Filipino, Mark John Yap, will battle Cuban prospect Jadier Herrera for the vacant World Boxing Association Asian South super featherweight belt.
The 33-year-old Yap is 30-15 with 15 knockouts while the 19-year-old Herrera is 5-0, all by knockout. – Rappler.com