Saludar defends ‘minimum’ crown in enemy territory


WORLD Boxing Association (WBA) regular minimumweight champion Victorio “Vicious” Saludar will defend his belt against Dominican Republic’s Eric Rosa Pacheco on December 9 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Saludar, who will turn 31 on November 3, said he would do whatever it takes to keep his crown for him to set up another world title showdown with unbeaten WBA super minimumweight champion Thammanoon Niyomtrong (21-0 win-loss record with seven knockouts) of Thailand.

“It’s not a problem fighting in enemy territory, I’m in a good condition,” said Saludar, of Polomolok, South Cotabato, on Friday.

Saludar beat countryman Robert Paradero via split decision last February 20 in Biñan, Laguna, to claim the vacant WBA regular championship.

Known for his tactical approach, Saludar won the World Boxing Organization belt in Kobe, Japan, over Ryuya Yamanaka via unanimous decision on July 13, 2018, retained the belt against another Japanese Masataka Taniguchi on February 26, 2019, also via unanimous decision in Tokyo.

But his reign didn’t last long as he bowed to Wilfredo Mendez last August 24, 2019, via unanimous at the Puerto Rican’s turf in in San Juan.

Saludar (21-4 record with 11 knockouts) said he would rely on his experience to defend the belt.

“If knockout comes, I’ll go for it. But what matters is I win every round. My advantage is my experience,” said Saludar, who trains under Wilfredo Mendez last August 24, 2019 via unanimous decision in San Juan, Puerto Rico. “I am not bothered anymore by fighting overseas.”

If Saludar wins, the WBA will enforce a mandatory bout between him and Niyomtrong to determine the world champion.

Saludar has been in intense training in General Santos City with Palacios and assistant trainer Randy Villamor.

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