ALA Boxing open to working with ONE Championship
Santino Honasan on Dec 03, 2018 03:48 PM
Donnie Nietes and Team Lakay are some of the biggest names in Philippine combat sports today
Back in early 2018, ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong publicly invited Filipino boxing legend and reigning WBA (Regular) Welterweight World Champion Manny Pacquiao to compete on a ONE Championship card in Manila, as part of an All-Filipino heroes mega card, as he put it.
"Let's join hands, let's give the Filipino fans what they want, let's do an all-Filipino heroes card, a mega, mega-card, blast that to the whole world," Sityodtong said.
With Pacquiao's current situation, it could be unlikely that we see the eight-division boxing world champion defend his belt inside a ONE ring, but as we've seen before, it's not impossible that a big-name boxing star does.
Back in October, arguably the biggest boxing star in Thailand today, reigning WBC Super Flyweight World Champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai main evented ONE: Kingdom of Heroes in Bangkok, which became one of the biggest events of the year.
It was proof of Sityodtong's claim that he wanted to see champions from across all platforms compete on the ONE stage.
"What we want to do is showcase all the combat sports, all the flavors, and hopefully we'll get multi-division champions across the different platforms to really celebrate Asia's greatest cultural treasure, martial arts."
While Pacquiao on a ONE card in 2019 could be quite farfetched, Pinoy champions on a ONE card in Manila isn't, and one of the biggest boxing promoters in the country is more than willing to work with the Asian martial arts promotion in terms of promoting boxers.
Cebu-based ALA Promotions is home to some of the best boxers in the Philippines, including three-division world champion Donnie "Ahas" Nietes, former flyweight champion Milan "El Metodico" Melindo, and hard-hitting super bantamweight "Prince" Albert Pagara just to name a few.
Now, imagine seeing those names alongside Filipino mixed martial arts stars such as Eduard Folayang and Brandon Vera on a massive card in Manila?
ALA Promotions CEO Michael Aldeguer says he's more than open to it.
"Definitely, yes. We’re always open to working with anyone, and ONE Championship has done a lot," Aldeguer told ABS-CBN Sports. "They’ve done a great job now, and that was a great idea, what they did with Rungvisai."
Rungvisai and Nietes, ALA Boxing's biggest star both call the super flyweight division home, and could be on a collision course in the future. Nietes will be fighting for the vacant WBO Super Flyweight World Championship in Macau on December 31st.
Since the start, ALA Promotion's objective was to bring homegrown boxers on to a bigger platform, an through the long-running Pinoy Pride series, a number of ALA Boxing stars have become household names.
Nietes and Melindo have translated that popularity into overseas success as well, with Nietes making a name for himself in the United States, and Melindo becoming a regular in Japan.
ONE Championship could be a way for ALA Boxing to get their younger, up-and-coming stars like Jeo Santisima and KJ Cataraja more exposure on a wider, Asian audience.
"Definitely, yes, it’s something that we’re looking at. If every they reach out, then maybe we can start some talks, that would be good," Aldeguer added.
With ONE recently picking up former Olympian kickboxer Ryan Jakiri, it's very possible to have Filipino MMA fighters, boxers, and kickboxers competing on mega-card in Manila.
"That would be something good for the Philippines," Aldeguer concluded.