Trainer confident Gabunilas will win in ‘Engkwentro 9’


John Paul Gabunilas (left) and Wandi Priman Hulu (right). | Facebook photos

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Veteran boxing trainer Eldo Cortes is confident that his prized ward John Paul “Angas ng Cebu” Gabunilas will prevail in the main event of “Engkwentro 9” on March 24, 2023, at the Talisay City Poblacion gymnasium in Cebu.

Gabunilas, one of ARQ Boxing Stable’s banner boxers, will battle Indonesian Wandi Priman Hulu for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) Asia Pacific Youth junior flyweight title. 

The 22-year-old Gabunilas of Barangay Pardo, Cebu City has a record of nine wins with one loss. Of his nine wins, six were by knockouts. 

Hulu has a professional record of two wins and a draw. 

Cortes revealed that Hulu is an Olympian who has a vast amateur experience, making this Indonesian boxer Gabunilas’ biggest test in his young career. 

“Daghan nag ingon nga two fights pa ang Indonesian. Pero wala sila kahibaw nga beterano na ni sa amateur ug nakaduwa na ni sa Olympics. Mao nang sa kadaghan pwede mapilian sa WBO, siya gyud ang gipili para ani nga fight ni John Paul tungod sa iyahang experience. Diretso na gud siya ug six-rounder pag himo niya ug professional. So dili gyud ni basta-basta among makontra,” said Cortes. 

(A lot are saying that the Indonesian only has two fights. But what they don’t know is that he is a veteran in the amateurs and has fought in the Olympics. That’s why of all the WBO can choose from, they really chose him to fight John Paul because of his experience. He was even given a six-rounder when he became a professional. So he really isn’t just any ordinary boxer.) 

Still, Cortes said he is confident his ward can win. 

“Pero wala mi nahadlok ug confident ko modaog gyud mi ani nga fight. Walay power ang kontra, puntosay ra. Pero maayo gyud ni among ma kontra. Dili lang gyud kakumpyansaan kay di nato matag-an ang mahitabo kay sumbagayon pa man ni,” he added

(But we’re not scared and we are confident we will win in this fight. The opponent has no power, all points. But he is good. We shouldn’t be too confident because we don’t know what will happen because we still have to fight.)

Cortes revealed that Gabunilas is only one-pound shy from getting the contracted weight limit for his 10-rounder bout against Hulu. 

He also said that Gabunilas sparred for over a hundred rounds against April Jay Abne and former Philippine team member Ramil Macado, who are known technical boxers. 

The official weigh-in of Engkwentro 9 fight card is on Thursday, March 23, at the Vienna Kaffehaus. 



Gabunilas battles Indon in “Engkwentro 9” main event