MANILA, Philippines – ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer is still determined to support Filipino boxers despite the disappointing loss of highly touted fighter AJ “Bazooka” Banal in his world title fight last Saturday.
Banal lost to Thai boxer Pungluang Sor Singyu in the main event of Pinoy Pride XVII last Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena, failing to capture the vacant World Boxing Organization bantamweight belt.
But Aldeguer told Joaquin Henson of The Philippine Star that Banal’s loss will not keep them from fulfilling their goal of elevating Philippine boxing to the elite level.
“AJ is not ALA,” Aldeguer stressed. “There are two entities – the ALA Gym and ALA Promotions, which my father (Antonio L. Aldeguer) put up.”
“My father got involved in boxing to train kids, help them achieve their dreams, to mold them, nurture them and give them a chance to make something out of their lives,” he added.
Aldeguer said that when he took over ALA Promotions five years ago, he wanted to preserve his father’s legacy, "not for himself but for our country.”
“This is beyond AJ,” he stressed. “Our goal is to put Philippine boxing in the world map, to make the Philippines a location for world-class boxing events.”
Aldeguer said that while they are disappointed with Banal’s loss, they are still proud of the young boxer’s effort.
“He fought a good fight. It wasn’t as if the Thai dominated. The fight was close,” Aldeguer said, noting that one judge even had Banal ahead at the time of the stoppage.
“When AJ went down, he got up, but referee Tony Weeks did what he had to do. AJ was crying like a baby because he wanted to win so badly. It just wasn’t meant to be,” Aldeguer said.
Banal had won 11 straight fights leading up to the Sor Singyu bout. He had previously lost to Rafael Concepcion in August 2008 in a bout for the interim World Boxing Association flyweight title after getting knocked out in the 10th round.