AJ Banal, Czar Amonsot and The Challenge That Lies Ahead

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AJ Banal, Czar Amonsot and The Challenge That Lies Ahead
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
This coming weekend, the euphoria of boxing madness will once again cross borders and take center stage, setting foot in the Philippine archipelago at the historic Cebu coliseum.

No, it's not about the "Thrilla in Manila" and it ain't about Manny Pacquiao, but one thing's for sure...

It'll be another grandiose night for boxing purists around the globe as world title hopefuls—former WBO Asia-Pacific youth superflyweight champion AJ "Bazooka" Banal and valiant Boholano warrior Czar Amonsot—hope to put on an astounding show in front of their countrymen, a show that could perhaps be a ticket to another shot at an elusive world title.

Banal had a great chance last year for the vacant WBO superflyweight crown, but failed to crown himself champion in lieu of a disappointing 10th round TKO loss at the hands of Panama's Rafael Concepcion.

Conversely, Amonsot also had his chance about two years ago against then-WBO lightweight champion Michael Katsidis. It was a courageous stand for Amonsot—only to lose via scorecards in a "fight of the year" caliber bout.

Nevertheless, both fighters would eventually bounce back after their world title frustrations in a twin-bill fight card early this year.

Banal, the spitfire that he was, showed off a rare blend of speed, power, and precision en route to a fourth-round TKO win against Indonesian champ Nouldy Manakane.

While Amonsot, after an 18-month hiatus, immediately shook off the ring rust against tried-and-tested Zoel Fidal, Amnsot capitalized on Fidal’s mistakes, thus stopping the opposition in the fifth round.

Both Banal and Amonsot will headline the fightcard dubbed as "Pagsubok" (Challenge). Banal will face former world champion Mbwana Matamle and Amonsot will take on Kenyan pride Morris Chule.

"Pagsubok" will remain true to its meaning as this will be a big challenge for both Filipino protagonists.

Surely it will not be the last.

As a fight fan, I can only hope...

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