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Red-hot ‘Dobermann’ targets big guns

Dave Apolinario wants to upgrade his current status by beating one of the flyweight division’s marquee names.

Fresh from winning the vacant International Boxing Organization (IBO) strap in South Africa, Apolinario is eyeing a clash from among Artem Dalakian (World Boxing Association), Julio Cesar Martinez (World Boxing Council) Sunny Edwards (International Boxing Federation) and Junto Nakatani (World Boxing Organization).

“Whoever is available I will fight,” the unbeaten Apolinario said.

Apolinario’s confidence stems from his smashing first-round knockout of Gideon Buthelezi to claim the IBO 112-lb title on hostile ground and amid an environment of uncertainty.

That’s what promoter JC Mananquil will be working on in the next few weeks.

There is a scheduled meeting with the influential matchmaker Sean Gibbons in Los Angeles soon with Mananquil banking heavily on the American’s strong connections to make things happen.

“I don’t want to go back to South Africa,” the General Santos City-bred boxer, who is known as “Dobermann,” said.

His handlers revealed that the African promoters bought them airplane tickets that were not passenger-friendly.

“Imagine having a 20-hour layover in Ethiopia and then another long stopover in Bangkok before flying to Manila,” an exasperated Mananquil said.

If Apolinario can’t find a spot on a US card this year, Mananquil will move heaven and earth to stage a title defense on home soil against a crack Mexican slugger.

He and Apolinario’s manager Mike Pelayo are aiming to cash in on the fighter’s meteoric rise from a complete unknown to the current toast of Philippine pugilism.

In the meantime, Apolinario is not resting on his laurels.

After a well-deserved break, Apolinario will show up at the gym to begin his next mission.

“This is just the beginning,” Pelayo said.

“He will go places.”

South Africa isn’t going to be one of them.

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