MANILA, Philippines – Crisanto Pitpitunge returns to the Pacific X-Treme Combat cage for the first time in almost a year as he stakes his bantamweight title against a dangerous Japanese foe in Michinori Tanaka in the highlight of PXC 37 set this Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
A year after snaring the bantamweight belt with a win over Guam's Justin Cruz, the 26-year-old Pitpitunge makes his first title defense against Tanaka, who is unbeaten in seven fights, including a submission (mounted triangle) win over Caleb Valloton in the PXC 36 in Guam last March.
And Pitpitunge, training out of Baguio-based Team Lakay, knows he'll have his hands full against Tanaka, who has sharpened his jiu jitsu skills by training with former UFC champion Urijah Faber in California for 20 days before getting the call from PXC to challenge the former for the crown.
"I know he's undefeated but I'm not scared of him (Tanaka)," said Pitpitunge, who is now 4-1 (win-loss) since campaigning in mixed martial arts, in yesterday's presser at the Prime Upscale Club in Quezon City that was also attended by TV 5 Sports' Tony Atayde and PXC chief EJ Calvo.
Tanaka, for his part, said he is confident will come out the winner in the recent fightcard of the Guam-based fight outfit that will be shown on a delayed basis starting at 9 p.m. at AKTV on IBC 13.
"Whenever I go out to fight, I always feel confident. And I'm confident that I will stay undefeated," said Tanaka through an interpreter.
Pitpitpunge's year-long absence may also take its toll as he had to take a very long break to train as a policeman.
"It doesn't bother me at all because when I was training as a policeman for six months, I always make sure to stay in shape and keep myself sharp always. The rust factor will not affect me," he said.
Japan's Takumi Nakayama and Singapore's Syafiq Abdul Samad will also make their PXC debut as the two collide with American Johnny Pecyna and Brazilian Wesley Machado, respectively, in other bouts to watch.
Also on tap at PXC 37 are the fights of American Nate Thorrell and South Korean Jang Yong Kim, Jerome Wanawan and Ernesto Montilla, Jr., Troy Bontiag and American Trevin Jones, Reno Remigio and South Korean Hong Seung Chan, and Alex Montalban and Rolando Uy.
PSX 37 is presented by San Mig Strong Ice and Sports5 with support from Axe Apollo, Fitness First, FHM Phl, Premier Condoms, Healthway, Beer Below Zero, Ultimate Fitness, Real Sports Radio, Loqal.ph, Filquest Media Concepts, spin.ph, Resorts World Manila, Remington Hotel, SM Tickets and Ticketnet.