'Do-or-die' for ALA pugs: 'Stars of the Future' hard-pressed to win in Pinoy Pride 35
Lemuel P. Maglinte (The Freeman) - February 3, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - They are ballyhoed as the future stars of Philippine boxing. In fact, the 35th installment of the highly-successful Pinoy Pride series is named after them.

But along with that lofty billing comes a great challenge.

That is the reason why there must be no room for losing when ALA Gym rising stars “Prince” Albert Pagara, Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo and Kevin Jake Cataraja take on separate foes in the main showcase of the "Pinoy Pride 35: Stars of the Future" fightcard on February 27 at the Pacific grand ballroom of Waterfront-Cebu City Hotel and Casino in Barangay Lahug.

“I see this card as very significant not only to ALA Promotions but to Philippine boxing,” said ALA Promotions President and CEO Michael Aldeguer in a press conference yesterday at St. Mark’s Hotel. “With (Manny) Pacquiao retiring very soon and we have Nonito Donaire and Donnie Nietes not getting any younger, I think this is a great time to show that we have these young boxers who are ready to carry the future of Philippine boxing.”

Aldeguer believed that there is a risk in putting all of ALA’s young prospects against formidable opponents in one card, but they are compelled to do so as it's the only way to find out who is ready and who is not.

“This is a do-or-die fight for all of them. They must answer each of  their challenge to show that they are indeed the future,” said Aldeguer.

The WBO ranked No.2 Pagara (25-0, 18KOs) will try to inch closer to his dream of fighting for the world title as he defends his  WBO Intercontinental super bantamweight title against Nicaraguan challenger Yesner Talavera (15-3, 4KOs).

“I realize how important this fight is for my career," said the 21-year-old Pagara. "But I don’t feel any pressure. I am even pumped up to deliver a convincing win. I’m focused on this fight but at the same time, I am also thinking of bigger opportunities ahead.”

“There is no denying that Albert is already a strong contender for the title but we will see because Nonito (Donaire) is still the champion and if he decided to go up in weight, then we will surely take that chance (of fighting for the WBO belt),” said Aldeguer.  “For now, we just want to give Albert more exposures in fighting and training in the US.”

In the equally-exciting supporting bout, the undefeated WBO Youth featherweight champion Magsayo (12-0, 10KOs) promised a knockout win against Mexican Eduardo “Fierita” Montoya (17-4, 13KOs) that will catapult him into the bigger stage.

“I really want to knock out this guy (Montoya) because I want to be in the undercard of the Nonito Donaire’s fight on April in Manila,” said the Tagbilaran City-native fighter.

For his part, former amateur standout Kevin Jake “KJ” Cataraja (2-0, 2KOs) takes on the toughest test of his budding career as he faces a Mexican foe in Tony Rodriguez (4-1, 1KO) for the first time.

The rest of the show features three other promising ALA pugs in Melvin “Gringo” Jerusalem,  Jeo “Santino” Santisima and Elmo “Bisdak” Traya.

Jerusalem (8-0, 7KOs) slugs it out with former world champion Florante Condes (27-9, 23KOs), Santisima (8-2, 7KOs) takes on veteran brawler Marco Demecillo (21-4, 16KOs), while Traya (10-1, 8KOs) faces Mindanao brawler Romeo Jakosalem (16-11, 8KOs). (FREEMAN)

ACIRC ALBERT PAGARA ALDEGUER BARANGAY LAHUG BUT I FLORANTE CONDES KEVIN JAKE MAGSAYO AND KEVIN JAKE CATARAJA MARCO DEMECILLO MEXICAN EDUARDO PINOY PRIDE
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