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Gesta brings his own fireworks

Story & photo by Felipe Leon

Unbeaten Mercito Gesta's future is looking brighter, almost as bright as the fireworks he enjoyed this past 4th of July.

"I went somewhere near my home to watch the fireworks - back home in the Philippines, we only have them at Christmas and New Year's," the 21-year-old stated. "We can buy them and light themselves ourselves in the streets."

Now Gesta (15-0-1, 6 KOs) is hoping to provide his own set of fireworks as he faces Devaris Crayton (6-5-1, 2KO) of Orlando, FL, in the featured eight round lightweight bout of "Havoc at the Hard Rock II: No Mercy" on Friday, July 10th presented by Rogue Boxing Promotions and being held at the open air Woodstock Terrace of the Hard Rock Hotel in downtown San Diego, Calif.

"I am happy to fight in San Diego again," Gesta says smiling. "I feel good to fight in front of my friends and hometown fans."

Since moving to the United States two years ago, Gesta has fought sporadically, lacing up the gloves only twice in '07 and two more times in '08. This Friday will mark the second fight in as many months for the native of Cebu City, PI.

"I am fighting on schedule and there is plans for me to fight more this year," Gesta states. The fact that Gesta is now able to fight in his new hometown of San Diego adds to his motivation. "I am rededicated to my training. It makes me work harder so not to disappoint."

But disappoint is the least that Gesta has done to his hometown fans as in his last bout in May, Gesta needed only forty-four seconds of the first round to stop Tijuana's 2008 Prospect of the Year, Alain "Konan" Hernandez who was on a six fight winning streak. Gesta stopped him with a display of speed, skill and power that left his fans wanting more.

"I was surprised that it ended so quickly, I was expecting a tougher fight," he says choosing his words carefully,” I knew that Hernandez was a tough out but I was well conditioned and trusted myself."

Since his last fight, Gesta has kept busy with the opportunity to sharpen his skills along side world-class fighters such as WBA super featherweight champion Jorge Linares as the world champion prepared for his latest defense of his title last month.

"Since sparring with Linares, I feel more confident. Linares is fast and strong and despite I felt he was better than me," Gesta says thoughtfully. "I didn't feel that he could beat me though, if I have the experience and the fights that he has, I think I can go with him."

The southpaw Gesta also had the opportunity to spar with Tijuana's up and coming Marvin Quintero in preparation for their respective next bout. Quintero is scheduled to face Tyrone Harris on July 31st.

Now that is a tough fighter, I needed to think more against him because he is also a southpaw and so tough," Gesta said. "He is not that fast but he punches hard, we did some good sparring and it was a good experience."

The fact that both Linares and Quintero compete at the 130 lbs. division reinforced the idea of Gesta moving down to that division.

"I have been thinking of going down and not just because I sparred those fighters. I feel that I can go to 130 lbs., that my body will allow me to so I want to try but not yet."

Gesta was originally slated to face the experienced Damien Fuller (30-6-1, 14KO) but the Detroit, MI, native had to bow out after a shoulder injury, a fact that disappoints Mercito.

"I wanted to test myself against an experienced guy like Fuller. I know a win against him would raise me in the rankings," a serious Gesta says. "He got hurt and that was very disappointing."

Now Gesta will face late sub Devaris Crayton whose record and experience does not match Fuller's or for that matter Gesta's.

"I can't say he will be easy because he has two hands too," Gesta says eloquently. "When you look at his record it looks like I should win the fight compared to mine but I don't know anything about him so I can't see him as easy, I still have to be careful."

What Gesta does know is what he wants to put on display this Friday in front of his hometown fans again.

"I want to put in a good fight and hopefully a KO again," he says. "I don't know his style but I will look for a way to make them enjoy the fight."

For more coverage on the San Diego/Tijuana scene, please check out

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