Filipino prospect Mike Plania faces Juan Carlos Payano in U.S. debut
When his first fight date on U.S. soil fell through, Mike Plania was fortunate to get a new date soon after. However he isn’t getting a soft touch.
Filipino boxer Plania (14-0, 7 knockouts) will face former WBA bantamweight titleholder Juan Carlos Payano (19-1, 9 KOs) on March 23 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The fight is set for 10 rounds for the WBO NABO bantamweight title, Plania’s promoter Jim Claude Manangquil tells RingTV.com.
“Obviously it’s a very hard fight but I like our chances,” said Manangquil. “Mike is a very talented fighter and I’m confident he can make an upset.”
Plania, 21, of General Santos City, Philippines is a former member of the Philippines’ national amateur boxing team and had won multiple gold medals at Philippine National Games and competed at the 2011 AIBA Youth World Championships in Ukraine.
Payano, 33, of La Vega, Dominican Republic, won his title in September 2014 via technical decision over Anselmo Moreno but lost the belt to Rau’shee Warren in June of 2016. He’s won two straight since then and is rated No. 4 by THE RING Magazine at 118 pounds.
BoxRec.com shows that Plania hasn’t fought since February of 2017 but Manangquil says he won a six-round decision against Roel Lazaro Perez in Mexico, last December, which hasn’t been reflected on the site.
Plania had been originally set to face Daniel Lozano on March 16 in Tampa before the change of plans. Plania said he jumped at the opportunity when it was presented to him.
“I’m very happy to fight the former champion and I will do my best this coming fight,” said Plania, who is training at Moro’s Gym in Miami with Osmiri “Moro” Fernandez.
The show will be headlined by Plania’s stablemate Reymart Gaballo, who will face fellow unbeaten prospect Stephon Young for the vacant interim WBA bantamweight title.
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and can be reached at [email protected].
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