DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista practiced at Kalakaua Gym yesterday. Tomorrow he fights Aree Phosuwangym.
‘Boom Boom’ heads card
at Blaisdell tomorrow
Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista has handled everything his handlers have thrown at him in his young career.
The Filipino phenom has to get by an opponent he has never seen in a place he has never been.
Bautista will take on Aree Phosuwangym of Thailand in the main event of a card tomorrow night at Blaisdell Arena. Phosuwangym is 8-2-1 with no KOs, but has experience in 58 Muay Thai fights. All Bautista knows about Phosuwangym is that he is from Thailand, and probably doesn't like to move backward. And that suits Bautista just fine.
"I like to mix it up, too," Bautista said.
Bautista is unbeaten in 14 fights and eight of his 10 KOs have come in the first three rounds, but he won't be looking for a stoppage against Phosuwangym. He only wants to gain experience without having to pay for it with a blemish on his perfect record.
"I can just do what I can, do my best to win this fight," Bautista said. "The KO will come if I do everything right, but you can't predict a knockout. If it comes, it comes."
Bautista, the World Boxing Organization's Asia-Pacific bantamweight champion, plans to follow the fight with a trip to Las Vegas to cheer on stablemate Z Gorres before getting in some training at Freddie Roach's famed Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles.
Other fights on the card include local product Dustin Kim against Pedro Mora, Sitafine Talosaga taking on Lee Martin in a heavyweight bout and local lightweights Hanson Montyre of Honolulu and Harvey Nakamoto of Aiea making their pro debuts in a four-round battle.
The card will be local promoter Richard Villaver's first in Hawaii, which may explain why a pair of local fighters will be found in the ring with each other. Splitting the island's loyalties is not Villaver's style, but he is learning as he goes. All Villaver is sure about is that the fight game is dead in Hawaii and he wants to revive it. He is already working on another show in May.
"I've been watching people promote fights here and always told myself that one day I'll do it different," Villaver said. "I know how to match up people to make a good show like Sad Sam (Ichinose) did. I want to be Sad Sam."
That is part of the reason Bautista is making a stop in boxing's graveyard on his way to the top.
"Hawaii was quite the respected area in Sad Sam's days," Antonio Aldeguer, Bautista's manager, said. "Richard (Villaver) wants to get it back, and we want to help."
Turning to a talent like Kim might be a way to do it, even if it is only a baby step.
Kim returns to Hawaii to get his career going again. Kim, of Waipahu, started his career 17-1 and was a fixture on cards in Las Vegas before suffering a pair of knockouts in 2001. He had lost four of his past five fights when he beat Oros Muangphimai at the Sheraton Waikiki Ballroom in 2003.
The win was supposed to mark his grand return to the fight game, but a detached retina took him out of action for two years.
"I am looking at maybe three more fights and then I'll go looking for a title," Kim said. "Being off for so long has helped me mature, and I think it has made me a better fighter."
The card's lone heavyweight bout sets Talosaga against Martin. Talosaga, of Honolulu, has never fought outside of Hawaii but he's undefeated in three fights. Martin boasts a 3-1 record, but is 38 years old and has not fought since 1997. He was cleared by a local doctor yesterday, after reservations voiced by the Hawaii State Boxing Commission.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the first fight scheduled to begin at 7:30. Weigh-ins are today.