Merlito Sabillo: From Street Fighter to Boxing Champion

Merlito Sabillo’s journey to becoming a world champion boxer is nothing short of remarkable. Born in Bacolod City, Philippines, Sabillo’s path to the ring was unconventional, to say the least. Before stepping into the professional boxing world, he honed his skills in the most unlikely of places – the local marketplace.

In his youth, Sabillo found himself in a precarious situation, struggling to support his family. With few options available, he turned to street fighting in the Bacolod City marketplace, where he quickly gained a reputation as a formidable fighter. Donning his own gloves, Sabillo would engage in bare-knuckle bouts, with bettors cheering and shouting as if they were at a cockfight. His raw aggression and southpaw power made him a local celebrity, earning him modest sums of money to sustain his family.

However, Sabillo’s street fighting days were not without consequences. His activities soon caught the attention of the authorities, who were aware of the illegal gambling aspect. It was at this point that Sabillo realized he needed to find a more legitimate path.

At the age of 24, Sabillo turned professional in 2008, and his natural talent quickly became evident. Within two and a half years, he had claimed the Philippines championship at 105 pounds. His impressive performances caught the eye of ALA Promotions, one of the most prominent boxing companies in the Philippines.

Sabillo’s big break came in 2013 when he defeated Colombia’s Luis de la Rosa to claim the interim WBO Minimumweight world title. He successfully defended his title twice before losing it to Francisco Rodriguez Jr. in 2014. Undeterred, Sabillo continued to compete, showcasing his resilience and determination.

Throughout his career, Sabillo has faced numerous challenges, both inside and outside the ring. His journey from the streets of Bacolod City to the world stage is a testament to his unwavering spirit and dedication to the sport he loves.

Today, Sabillo continues to inspire aspiring boxers and fans alike with his remarkable story. His rise from humble beginnings to becoming a world champion is a reminder that with hard work, perseverance, and a relentless pursuit of one’s dreams, anything is possible.


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