Vincent Astrolabio quietly left for the United States to hook up with a renowned strength and conditioning coach who played a major role in breaking the hearts of millions of Filipino fight fans a decade ago.
Astrolabio, a super-bantamweight, who fights out of MP Promotions, is scheduled to face Russian Nikolai Potapov on 17 December in Las Vegas.
A world title is not on the line but an opportunity to fight for one is on the table for the winner.
Their scheduled 12-rounder has been classified as a title elimination match by the International Boxing Federation and Team Astrolabio is not taking any chances.
MP Promotions chief Sean Gibbons, who is now in the country, has set the stage for Astrolabio’s stay and training while waiting for fight night.
Pacquiao trainer Nonoy Neri flew with Astrolabio a couple of weeks from the Philippines to get used to the local conditions.
Part of the buildup is for the boxer to sign up for the physical fitness program of Memo Heredia, best known for his work with Juan Manuel Marquez against Manny Pacquiao in December 2012.
The past week or so, Heredia has been spotted handling Astrolabio’s exercises. It augurs well with his chances of beating Potapov, who holds a 23-2-1 record with 11 knockouts.
Astrolabio, who has a 17-3 mark with 12 knockouts, made it to the world’s ratings after defeating Guillermo Rigondeaux last February in Dubai.
It was a huge win since Rigondeaux suffered a knockdown in the eighth round, something that is hard to pull off given the Cuban’s tremendous experience and ring savvy.