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Phl punchers brace for busy 2024

World-ranked Filipino flyweight Dave Apolinario, coming off a knockout win in Japan, is on the cusp of a world title challenge. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Phoenix Promotions

A big wave of Filipino boxers gets the opportunity to hit paydirt in the second half of 2024.

Even newly-crowned World Boxing Council (WBC) minimumweight king Melvin Jerusalem could be making the first defense by July as his handlers, made up of Japanese and Filipinos, are targeting a July return.

Already assured of world title shots within the year include flyweight Dave Apolinario, bantamweights Vincent Astrolabio and Reymart Gaballo and minimumnweight Pedro Taduran.

Apolinario and Mexican Angel Ayala have been ordered by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) crown and their respective handlers have until the end of this month to reach a deal. If they don’t come to terms, the New Jersey-based IBF will order a purse bid.

Nicknamed “Doberman,” Apolinario is fresh from a one-punch knockout of Thai Tanes Ongjunta in Tokyo.

Astrolabio is also on the verge of a crack at Junto Nakatani’s WBC title while Gaballo’s chance at the World Boxing Organization strap should come towards the third quarter as he keenly awaits the winner of the clash between Australian Jason Moloney and Yoshi Takei on 6 May.

“Around September,” JC Mananquil, Gaballo’s lead promoter told DAILY TRIBUNE.

Taduran is also on the brink of being in the same ring as Ginjiro Shigeoka for the IBF 105-lb belt.

Shigeoka is coming off a sweat-free knockout win over last-minute substitute Jake Amparo of the Philippines in Nagoya.

As for Jerusalem, there are countless options for the country’s lone world champion.

There is talk that he might be ordered to face Yudai Shigeoka in a rematch as Japanese promoters hold the rights to his next two bouts.

Even a unification showdown with former tormentor Oscar Collazo of Puerto Rico is being discussed.

While official dates have yet to be announced, it doesn’t change the fact that the second half of the year will be hectic.

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