Undefeated WBO minimumweight champion Merlito “Tiger” Sabillo (23-0, 12 KO) stopped Jorle Estrada (17-7) to retain his title on Saturday at the Solaire Resort Hotel and Casino. The champion ended matters with a destructive body shot in the ninth round that sent the Colombian challenger to the canvas.
The fight was the first for the Filipino champion in Manila, per ABS-CBN News. Though he fights in a smaller weight class, Tiger is quickly becoming one of the Philippines' brightest boxing stars. The 29-year-old has made a habit of dispatching top-notch Colombian fighters, as he also defeated Luis de la Rosa in March.
Sabillo, much like his more famous countryman Manny Pacquiao, comes from very meager beginnings. He began fighting as a street fighter before turning pro in 2008 at the age of 24, per Ryan Songalia of Ring Magazine.
Every time he triumphs in the ring, he's adding another chapter to an already compelling story. He hasn't allowed his late start, or his slightly unconventional introduction to the sport, to hinder his in-ring achievement.
Coming into the fight, Sabillo was ranked just 10th by BoxRec.com amongst minimumweights.
Perhaps his impressive victory on Saturday can help vault him in the rankings.
A potential bout with countryman Denver "The Excitement" Cuello would be an interesting next step, but it would be understandable if Sabillo had thoughts of unification or moving up in weight on his mind. Those two options are probably more lucrative, and as he quickly approaches 30 years of age, he has to think about maximizing his talents.
No matter what Tiger's next move is, he gave boxing fans a treat with his perfectly placed body shot to Estrada's midsection. No matter what skill level or weight class, a crippling body shot like that is an example of one of the lost arts in the Sweet Science.
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