by R. McCarson
The main event of Pinoy Pride XIII will feature ranked bantamweight AJ Banal (26-1-1, 19 KOs) vs. Raul Hidalgo (16-5, 12 KOs). The Cebu City Waterfront Hotel and Casino in the Phillipines will host the card on Saturday, March 24th.
Banal is ranked 10th in the world among bantamweights, and his only loss came halfway through his professional career in 2008 against Rafael Concepcion, who was 10-2-1 at the time and is now 16-6-1. Banal was up on all three judges’ scorecards, but he lost the bout by knockout in the tenth round.
Since that loss, all of Banal’s opponents have had winning records, but he has yet to face anyone ranked in the top twenty.
Hailing from Mexico, Hidalgo comes into this bout having fought fourteen times since the start of 2011. His professional career began in 2010, but four of his five losses came in the latter half. He’s gone 3-2 in his last five, with only one of those wins coming against a fighter with a winning record. Banal will be his toughest opponent to date although he’s faced one other skilled opponent: ranked super flyweight Daiki Kameda, which resulted in a first round knockout.
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