Unheralded Filipino Merlito Sabillo (21-0, 10) made a statement this past weekend to the Minimumweight division as he traveled to Colombia and defeated Colombian Luis De La Rosa (21-2-1, 12) in eye catching fashion to claim the WBO interim Minimumweight title.
The fight started fast as both men came out with bad intentions and it was Sabillo who got an early upper hand inflicting a cut on to De La Rosa in the opening round. Although many fighters go in to their shell when cut it seemed to merely spur on De La Rosa who fought like a wounded animal intent on taking out his attacker.
With De La Rosa cut and Sabillo going toe-to-toe with his opponent the fight quickly erupted in to a war as both men took turns in firing bombs at the other. Neither man willing to back down though neither man quite able to get an upper hand against an opponent who was wanting to claim a portion of the world title. The action was relentless as both men tried their hardest to rock the other and take them out of their game plan though neither man could manage it in the opening half of the bout.
After the back and forth action of the first 7 rounds Sabillo finally got a clear upper hand as he felled De La Rosa in round 8. Although De La Rosa rose to his feet he was back down soon afterwards as Sabillo took advantage of his woozy opponent and forced the stoppage just seconds later.
Although the Colombian fighter had lost the crowd gave both men a show of hands as the local mayor also welcomed Sabillo to return to the area to fight another Colombian fighter later this year. Looking at this it would appear that Sabillo has made a new set of fans as boxing for once treat the away fighter with the dignity and respect they deserved.
Although the full version of the WBO Minimumweight title is held by Mexican Moises Fuentes, rumours are rife that Sabillo will be upgraded to the full champion in the coming months as Fuentes, who was a huge guy at Minimumweight, simply cannot make the 105lb limit. Fuentes, who drew recently with Donnie Nietes (who like Sabillo is a Filipino fighter and part of the ALA Gym) is expected to chase a rematch with Nietes if he can even manage to make 108lbs again, if not he could well move to 112lbs later this year.