Sabillo (left) getting ready to throw his knock-out punch to Estrada in the 9th round of their fight.
Sabillo (left) getting ready to throw his knock-out punch to Estrada in the 9th round of their fight.
[box type=”default” size=”large”] Knocks out Columbian foe in 9th round [/box]MANILA — Merlito Sabillo, the least known Filipino world champion, made a rousing introduction of himself last Saturday night (July 20), scoring a one-punch ninth-round knockout victory over Colombian Jorle Estrada to retain his World Boxing Organization (WBO) minimumweight title at the grand ballroom of the Solaire Resort and Casino in Paranaque City.

What Sabillo did was extra-special as he got the job done using a body shot, a feat that is so rare the names of Roy Jones and Bernard Hopkins often comes to mind whenever somebody wins in this dramatic manner.

After Estrada missed with a sweeping right, Sabillo saw an opening and dug a hybrid left uppercut-hook to the visitor’s ribcage, sending Estrada down writhing in pain and clutching the area where Sabillo’s hammer fist landed.

Referee Raul Caiz Jr. of the US started to count, giving Estrada all the chance to get up but he simply rolled over, spat out his mouthpiece and continued to hold on to his ribcage as if it would ease the pain up until the third man on the ring reached the count of 10.

“I had some difficulties finding him because he was always moving,” said Sabillo, 29, who was making the first defense of the 105-pound diadem.

But while Estrada was able to run, he could not hide and evade Sabillo’s furious fists.

“My corner told me to just keep on attacking the body.”

Although he had success in pounding Estrada’s wiry physique in the previous rounds, there was simply no escaping the one that Sabillo uncorked going into the last minute of the round.

Michael Aldeguer, who promotes and manages Sabillo, assured everyone that his fighter will be back in the ring in October or November.

“Definitly, he will fight one more time before the year ends,” said Aldeguer.

Sabillo was in total command of the scheduled 12-rounder as he made his intentions clear by throwing hard shots most of the time.

Even though a number of the punches failed to land, it was evident that Sabillo had one thing in mind.

“I want to win impressively to make the fans happy,” said Sabillo, who was born and raised in Negros Oriental.

Also taking the spotlight during the show dubbed “Pinoy Pride XXI” are rising star King Arthur Villanueva, who stopped Mexican Arturo Badillo in four rounds of their super-fly encounter.

Comebacking AJ Banal also won against Abraham Gomez, also of Mexico.

But the night truly belonged to Sabillo, whose fighting style has shades of Manny Pacquiao in it.

Sabillo is virtually unknown to Filipino sports fans here and abroad, but his demolition of Estrada is sure to make him a household name soon. (Manila Bulletin)

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