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Cebu City, Philippines – And at last, they meet.

“AJ! How are you, buddy?” the prizefighter from Canada yelled to the boxer from the Philippines, who was on the far side of the front lobby of a very luxurious resort in here Lapu-Lapu City. “i have been looking all over for you!”

WBO Asia Pacific bantamweight titleholder AJ “Bazooka” Banal (24-1, 19 KOs) of the Philippines and WBC Continental Americas super bantamweight kingpin Tyson Cave (15-1, 5 KOs) of Canada finally got a good look at each other for the first time during the final press conference of Pinoy Pride 7: Battle at Mactan, held here at the Plantation Bay, Lapu-Lapu City. Fight night is on July 30th at the newly built Hoops Dome, Lapu-Lapu City.

Both camps were never lost for words during the build up for the fight. Banal has stated that he wants another crack at former tormentor Rafael Concepcion after he’s done with Cave. The Canadian, however, has plans of derailing that dream.

“I will make AJ cry,” Cave said.

"It's going to be a great fight." - Tyson Cave (right)

“It’s going to be a great fight. I am not going to make a prediction of a knockout,” Cave added. “But after this fight, people will be looking for me.”

“AJ can’t hit what he can’t see,” Robert Cave, Tyson’s father told this writer.

“Even if his head is as tiny as a munggo seed, I will still catch him,” Banal said. “He can’t evade my punches forever.”

Robert discussed with this writer that they plan to capitalize on Banal’s stamina issues.

“We know AJ has problems with his stamina,” Robert said to this writer. “Tyson will do his usual thing and that will not work well for AJ

“Tyson will take AJ to deep waters, I tell you.”

Bana’s head trainer, Edmundo Villamor, told the press that his ward can go the distance if he has to

“We have been training well for this fight. Stamina won’t be an issue,” Villamor assured the press.

In love with the Philippines

Cave’s conditioning trainer, Karim Colette, a true blue New Yorker, told this writer that he has fallen in love with the country.

“Philippines is a great a country. I might come back here and buy a piece of land.”

Colette discussed how receptive Cebuanos are wherever Team Cave went.

“It’s totally unbelievable! I really can see that you people are really passionate about boxing.

“If given the chance, I will definitely come back.”

Colette has worked with huge boxing personalities, including boxing siblings Dicky Eklund and former world champion Mickey Ward. Asked about how he goes about with his daily routine, Colette has one rule.

“I don’t work with prima donnas.”

Quizzed whether Cave is a prima donna or not, his answer is quite surprising, given Cave’s flashy and flamboyant approach.

“He isn’t a prima donna at all!” Colette expressed. “He has this certain demeanor about him. That certain confidence that makes him act that way.”

Pinoy Pride 7: Battle at Mactan will be held on July 30th, 2011, 6PM, at the Hoops Dome, Lapu-Lapu City.

Photo credits: PhilBoxing.com

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Kenneth P. Ragpala is an award-winning sports blogger who has been covering the sport of boxing since 2008. His works have appeared in local newspapers in his home city in Cagayan de Oro and in several online publications abroad. Ragpala has written for several boxing websites, namely Fight Hype, 8 Count News, and Bleacher Report.