AFTER suffering his first career setback, Allan Villanueva is eager to bounce back and expects a grueling 10-round war with former teammate Tomjune Mangubat in the co-main feature of Omega Sports Promotions’ “Kumbati 11” on Oct. 22 at the IPI Complex in Mandaue City, Cebu.
“This will be a war,” Villanueva’s trainer Christopher “Ping-Ping” Tepora told SunStar Cebu.
Villanueva and Mangubat were once teammates at the Omega Boxing Gym training under Tepora, who was the gym’s head coach back then. Villanueva is now training at Seth Oliver Tio’s Big Yellow Boxing Gym still under Tepora, who’s now the gym’s head trainer.
Since developing him as an amateur and training him up into the pro ranks, Tepora believes that his former ward Mangubat has become a better fighter.
“Tomjune has shown a lot of improvement. For us, we are always ready to give him a good fight,” said Tepora.
The 25-year-old Villanueva is currently sparring with former World Boxing Organization Youth bantamweight champion Carlo Demecillo and the returning Jhaleel Payao, who was also his teammate at the Omega Boxing Gym.
Villanueva suffered his first career defeat in his last fight after losing to another former teammate, Carlo Bacaro, by unanimous decision on March 27.
The 24-year-old Mangubat, in the meantime, is on a three-fight winning streak since suffering a split decision loss in Vietnam in the hands of Jong Seon Kang in 2019. He’s coming off a unanimous decision over journeyman Ernie Sanchez on July 3.
Mangubat is 14-2-1 with 11 knockouts, while Villanueva is 11-1 with eight knockouts.
The main event features a 10-round bout between International Boxing Federation light flyweight king Christian Araneta (20-2, 16 KOs) and Arnold Garde (10-10-3, 4 KOs).
In the undercard, Benny Cañete (3-0, 2 KOs) locks horns with Mark Jequinto (4-7-1), while Franco Serafica (6-1, 3 KOs) slugs it out with John Keenan Villaflor (8-7-4, 2 KOs).