MERCITO GESTA



Exclusive to the Filipino Reporter

Lightweight prospect Mercito Gesta may be vacationing in the Philippines, but he isn’t taking it easy.

Rather, the unbeaten 23-year-old “No Mercy” Gesta is hard at work in the Filipino province of Cebu, training with his father Anecito while his team back in San Diego, California works on his next date.

“My son is having a great time here in Cebu,” says Anecito Gesta, who is a former K-1 kick-boxer.

“He missed it a lot, the places and food.

“But before he does anything else, I make sure that he’s done with his training. After that, he’s free all day and can do anything he wants.”

Vincent Parra, who co-manages and trains the 20-0 (10 KO) southpaw, tells that promoter Don Chargin is hoping to stage Gesta’s next bout in late February on either HBO Latino or Telefutura’s “Solo Boxeo Tecate.”

The Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium in Stockton, California has been mentioned as a possible venue.

The names being tossed around are former World Boxing Association (WBA) lightweight champion Jose Alfaro and Vicente Escobedo.

Parra says that HBO has refused to accept 2000 U.S. Olympian Rocky Juarez the fight because he has only managed to win one of his last six bouts.

Alfaro, 27, of Nagarote, Nicaragua, briefly held a world title after beating Prawet Singwancha in 2007.

He lost the title in his first defense and has since lost three of his last four fights.

He holds a record of 24-7 (21 KO).

The 29-year-old Escobedo (22-3, 14 KO) of Woodland, California represented the United States in the 2004 Olympics, but has last two of his last three matches, albeit to Michael Katsidis and Robert Guerrero, who are among the elite in the lightweight division.

Possible co-promotion

Parra says that Chargin will be meeting with Golden Boy Promotions to discuss a possible co-promotion of Gesta, who knocked out Ivan Valle in two rounds in his most recent fight this past October.

Parra hopes that the union will fast track Gesta to a world title fight in 2011.

For this camp, Gesta will reunite with trainer Carl Penalosa, who is the brother of former world champions Gerry and Dodie Boy Penalosa, after Christmas.

Penalosa will oversee sparring for Gesta at the ALA Boxing Gym in Cebu City.

Penalosa was forced to step back as Gesta’s head trainer prior to his June 2010 bout with Oscar Meza when his American visa expired.

Parra picked up the duties of head trainer in the interim.

Parra says he doesn’t know if Penalosa will join Gesta when he returns to the United States on Jan. 20, 2011 to finish up training at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, California, but always welcomes him with open arms.

“Mercito and Carl are like family and he’s always welcome to rejoin the team in the United States. My role will stay the same; look out for Mercito’s best interests and do my job to the fullest.”


Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMANews.TV and the Filipino Reporter newspaper.

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