Kidapawan City – Undefeated flyweight boxer Jermie “The Worm” Jabel of North Cotabato’s Braveheart Boxing Club makes his first foray into big time boxing when he fights for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) Oriental Flyweight title against Arden Diale of Davao del Sur Province, currently ranked No. 4 flyweight in the Philippines.
Diale, 21, (8 wins, 4 losses, 3 draws) replaces world-ranked Fernando Lumacad who inexplicably backed out of the fight against the 22-year-old Jabel, 5’ 6” tall and one of the brightest prospects of North Cotabato for another world title.
“We would have really wanted Lumacad to fight Jabel to give our fighter a tough test but what can we do if he does not want to fight?” said former North Cotabato Governor Manny Pinol, who has managed Jabel since he was a 12-year-old barefoot kid who came from the frontier-town of Pigcawayan to join the amateur boxing program of the province.
Diale is no push-over though. In his young boxing career, he went up against two Filipino fighters who would later become world champions — Rodel Mayol the former WBC junior flyweight champion to whom he lost by technical decision and Johnriel Casimero, the current WBO Interim Champion to whom he lost by a 7th round KO.
Jabel is the latest Braveheart fighter to step into the boxing limelight following the sensational victory of clubmate Edrin “The Sting” Dapudong, 24, who knocked out World No. 1 ranked flyweight Jesus Jimenez of Mexico on June 19 to win the World Boxing Council (WBC) flyweight silver title.
Two other Braveheart boxers hold WBO Oriental titles — featherweight Lorenzo “Thunderbolt” Villanueva, 23 (18 wins, 17 KOs, 0 loss) and miniflyweight Rommel Asenjo, 21, (19 wins, 16 KOs, 2 losses). Two more fighters are highly ranked in the Philippines — junior featherweight Rolando “Smooth Operator” Magbanua, 25, and bantamweight Glenn “The Rock” Porras, 24.
The August 1 boxing event in M’lang, North Cotabato, sponsored by Mayor Joselito Pinol of M’lang and Mayor Efren Pinol of Magpet, both younger brothers of Manny, will be headlined by the second title defense of Villanueva of the WBO Oriental featherweight title against world-ranked Balweg Bangoyan, also of Davao del Sur.
Sponsored by San Miguel Corporation, the boxing event, dubbed “Double Rumble: Survival of the Fittest,” will be held at the picturesque M’lang Municipal Plaza and will be open to the public. [CARLOS BAUTISTA]