PINOY PRIDE

After apparently running out of quality foes in the Caribbean, super-lightweight Michael Antoine of Barbados is training his sights on making waves in the Philippines as he revs up to face Jason Pagara on Saturday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.

"We've beaten every opponent in the Carribean. Pagara hasn't fought somebody like Antoine. He (Pagara) will have tremendous difficulty. We're prepared to go 12 rounds but this is not going 12 rounds," said Antoine, who has extensively fought in Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and his native Barbados.

The Pagara-Antoine faceoff will be a part of the slambang Pinoy Pride 17 show that will be headlined by the fight for the vacant World Boxing Organization bantamweight crown featuring AJ Banal and Pungluang Sor Singyu of Thailand.

Antoine said Pagara will serve as stepping stone to bigger fights down the road.

"We want the big fights," said Antoine.

Pagara (29-2-0 with 18 knockouts) has a huge following in Cebu City and he intends to make heads turn this weekend with a smashing win over the unbeaten Antoine (17-0-1 with nine knockouts)

Also out to steal the thunder from the main event is the equally-exciting matchup between Rey 'Boom Boom' Bautista and Daniel Ruiz of Mexico in a featherweight showdown set for 12 rounds.

Bautista is aching to secure a world title crack and a victory over Ruiz should improve his chances of getting one in the near future.

Meanwhile, Sor Singyu was set to arrive yesterday from Bangkok and he and Banal will get to size each other up during a press conference on Thursday at the Midas Hotel.

The official weighin for all the fighter will be held Friday noon at the Mall of Asia Music Hall.

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