World Boxing Council (WBC) Asia super featherweight titlist Al Toyogon looks for an early finish when he meets Japanese challenger Ryusei Ishii in their 12-round title fight tonight at the Elorde Sports Center in Parañaque.
Toyogon, nicknamed "The Rock", will climb the ring as the sentimental favorite in the blockbuster card billed as “Night of Champions XVI” by well-known promoter-matchmaker Bebot Elorde.
“Kung kaya, tatapusin ko na agad. Basta laban lang. Ang importante, manalo,” said Toyogon during a talk with members of the Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) in the 7th "Usapang Sports" at the National Press Club in Intramuros last Thursday.
The 20-year-old pride of Gingoog City, Misamis Occidental is actually looking for a fitting follow up to his impressive sixth-round technical knockout win over compatriot Nathan Bolcio to win the then vacant WBC super featherweight crown last Sept. 20.
The 5-4 Toyogon boasts of a ring record of 9-1-2 win-draw-loss including six by knockouts.
He made his debut with a technical knockout victory over Rex Merceno in August 2015.
He also won all his four fights last year, including one against Naotoshi Nakatani of Japan last February.
His opponent, Ishii, has a 7-4-1 record, all against fellow Japanese fighters.
Games and Amusement Board (GAB) Commissioner Mar Masanguid and boxing chief Jun Bautista both expressed confidence that Toyogon will handle Ishii well and retain the title before an expected big home crowd.
"Malaki ang pag-asa, lalo na dito sa atin ang laban," said Masanguid, who appeared with Toyogon and boxers Ricardo Sueno and Diomel Diocos during the weekly session supported by the Philippine Sports Commission and National Press Club.
Sueno and Diocos will dispute the vacant WBC Asia flyweight championship in the undercard of the Toyogon-Ishii title fight.
Also present during the forum was World Boxing Association (WBA) Asia bantamweight champion Carl Jammes “Wonder Boy” Martin, who will also defend his title against Petchchorhae Kokietgym of Thailand at the Midas Hotel on Feb. 16.
Martin, a native of Lagawe, Ifugao will also carry a handsome record of 65 wins as an amateur and 11 wins as a pro when he tests the mettle of Kokietgym.
As a pro, the 19-year-old Martin carries an impressive 11-0 win-loss record, including 10 by knockouts.
He won the title with a fourth-round knockout of Moon Chul Suh of Korea last Oct. 27.
TOPS is composed of sports editors, writers and photographers from the country’s leading tabloids.