Thirty years since the inception of the ALA Boxing Gym in Alang-Alang, Mandaue City by its founder Antonio Lopez Aldeguer, whose initials bear the company’s name, it has staged promotion after promotion on Philippine soil, produced world champions like Gerry Peñalosa and Malcolm Tuñacao, became the pride of Cebu with “Pinoy Pride,” as it traveled to the Middle East and, amidst the 450,000-strong Filipino residents there, staged two spectacles named “Duel in Dubai.”
Six weeks from now, it’s another continent. ALA Sports Promotions Internaitional, Inc., codenamed ALASPI, is landing in America — the first time that a company from Asia is promoting a boxing show on American soil.
The date is October 17 and, like the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which labels its promotions by numbers (it’s UFC 191: Johnson vs. Dodson 2 this weekend), the ALA group does the same: it’s Pinoy Pride XXXIII. For short, that’s PP33.
The main attraction is ALA’s star attraction: Donnie “Ahas” Nietes, the longest-reigning Filipino world boxing champion.
“Donnie Nietes’s opponent is Juan Alejo of Mexico,” said Michael Aldeguer, the President/CEO of ALASPI.
Alejo is world rated No. 8 in the Light Flyweight division. And while a No. 8-ranked fighter looks already-beaten against Nietes, consider this credential of Alejo: He hasn’t lost a bout since Dec, 2009, sporting a 21-fight winning streak. But, like the 36 others who’ve bowed to Nietes (who hasn’t been beaten since 2004), the Mexican will have difficulty against the Murcia-born world champion.
Donnie Nietes with Michael and Tony Aldeguer
“The public wants to see Nietes fight a Mexican because of the rivalry between the Phils. and Mexico,” said Michael. “You can never take a Mexican fighter for granted.”
The Oct. 17 event is called “Filipinos contras Latinos” as there will be others from Latin countries. In the undercard will be the Pagara brothers Jason and Albert and ALA’s top bet, Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo. They will be joined by other Pinoy fighters based in the U.S and the venue is the 8,000-seater Stub Hub Center in Carson, Los Angeles.
The American invasion is not the only dream of father and son, Tony and Michael Aldeguer. They’ve set their vision to conquer the world through this sport that’s called “The Sweet Science.”
“The 10-year plan is to build ALA Boxing in the U.S. the way we did it in the Phils. The plan is to draw Fil-Ams to fight and train under the ALA banner. We hope to have an office and a gym in the coming years as next year we are looking to do more events every quarter in California and it should grow as the years come. That’s for the U.S.,” said Michael.
For Europe, the first target is London in 2017 or 2018. “Boxing has become big in Europe with some world champs and we plan to build something there,” he said. “Not to mention the thousands of Filipinos living in Europe.”
With the Middle East, since ALA has already staged two successful events in Dubai, the goal is to promote in Doha and in Saudi Arabia. Of the latter, it is acknowledged as the largest hirer of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), with nearly two million Filipinos residing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“From 2020-25, we hope to do Canada, Japan, Singapore and Australia, where a lot of Filipinos are,” said Michael. “The thrust is to grow the sport and connecting it closer to the heart of the Filipinos around the world as it is only in boxing we can excel and be respected around the world. Once we achieve that, the business side of things will come as the fan base becomes bigger. Naturally, more international promoters, advertisers and networks would want to work with us which will help us achieve our goal to be in an equal playing field.”
The target is for ALA to conquer America next month and the rest of the world in the coming decade.
“Gone are the days when international advertisers, TV networks and promoters just think of ALA Sports Promotions International Inc. (ALASPI) as based only in the Philippines,” said Michael.
ALA’s dream: A Filipino-owned company based all over the world.