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Lagumbay desperate to win for his community

The gloves are off: Nikki Bascome, right, and his opponent Alvin Lagumbay, of the Philippines, face off at Aries Sports Centre last night. The pair meet at the Victualling Yard in Royal Naval Dockyard tonightPhotograph by Lawrence Trott

Alvin Lagumbay says he is determined to claim a victory for the island’s Filipino community when he faces Nikki Bascome at the Victualling Yard in the Royal Naval Dockyard tonight.

The Manila-based boxer said he was blown away by the hero’s welcome he received at the airport when he arrived in Bermuda and believes the Filipino support will spur him on to glory.

Lagumbay is no stranger to competing overseas having fought three times in Japan and once in Russia and expects his super-lightweight bout against Bascome to feel like a “home fight”.

Speaking through a translator, Lagumbay said: “I’m very happy that all of the Filipinos in Bermuda are supporting me.

“It’s a big inspiration for me to win this fight for the Filipinos here on the island.

“I was surprised at the airport when I received a nice big welcome from the Filipino people.

“I wasn’t expecting that outcome and I’m proud to represent all of the Filipinos in Bermuda and in the Philippines.”

The 24-year-old has analysed footage of Bascome, who will be stepping back into the ring for the first time since beating Mexican David Martínez at the Fairmont Southampton last November, and has prepared for a tough eight rounds.

“I know Nikki Bascome is very good and I have watched his fights, but I have trained very hard and I have come to win,” said Lagumbay, who hails from the province of Bukidnon. “Win or lose, I will show my best and will be happy about the outcome.

“I’ll do the best I can and you will have to wait and see what happens tomorrow [tonight]. I’ve really prepared well for this fight.”

The southpaw was inspired to lace up the gloves as a small child after following the exploits of Manny Pacquiao, the only eight-division world champion in history and unquestionably the most famous Filipino.

“Ever since I was little, I have been dreaming of becoming like Manny Pacquiao,” said Lagumbay, who weighed 139 pounds, one less than Bascome at the weigh-in at Aries Sports Centre last night.

“I’ve always dreamt of becoming a world champion. Manny is already a veteran in boxing while I’m relatively new to the sport.”

With a professional record of four defeats and one draw from 15 bouts, Lagumbay is winless in his previous three fights, losing via technical knockout to undefeated Armenian Gor Yeritsyan in Kazan last December.

Bascome, who is dropping down from welterweight, conducted his entire eight-week training camp at Forty Rego’s Gym in Warwick; a contrasting approach to the build-up to the Martínez fight, where he spent six months in Las Vegas under the watchful eye of Jeff Mayweather.

The Bermudian insists he will not be fazed by Lagumbay’s passionate fanbase and has learnt from his mistakes when he lost to Fábio Costa, who enjoyed support from the Portuguese contingent, at the Fairmont Southampton in November 2017.

On the amateur undercard, Andre Lambe, of Forty Rego’s Gym, will take on Deyshawn Williams, of Eastern Queens Boxing Club in New York; Mikey Parsons, of Controversy Gym, will meet Jack McGrath, of Eastern Queens Boxing Club, while Jaylon Roberts, of Forty Rego’s, will face Shaquille Leon, another Eastern Queens Boxing Club pugilist.

In kick-boxing, Krista Dyer, of the Bermuda Sanshou Association, will be aiming to bounceback from her boxing debut defeat against Sara Buczek in November, when she faces Catherine Raptis, of Sitan Gym Muay Thai in Astoria, New York, while Ryley Mason, of the BSA, will take on Gemma Fleming, of the Wat Gym in Manhattan.