Albert Bell vs Mark Bernaldez during the weigh-in Thursday (Manila time). TOP RANK PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—It was a tough and lonely buildup for Mark Bernaldez for his bout against Albert Bell, but the Filipino boxer is determined to get that life-changing win for his career and his family.

Bernaldez has been training in the United States and away from his wife and five-year-old son since January after his bout against Bell was pushed back to July due to COVID-19.

“It’s difficult to be away from my family because I miss them, especially now that there is a pandemic,” said Bernaldez, who trains with Osmiri “Moro” Fernandez. “But I need to be away to train and I do this for them.”

But Bernaldez, who is set to step in the ring on Friday (Manila time), has kept his spirits up especially after seeing his close friend Mike Plania deck Joshua Greer, who was the WBO’s no.1 bantamweight contender back in June.

“I am so inspired by my friend Mike, and I want to win this fight,” said the 26-year-old Bernaldez in a report on Ring.TV. “This is why I am pushing myself to train hard because I want to win.”

The Filipino pugilist weighed in at 132 pounds while Bell was at 133 lbs on the bout’s official weigh-in on Thursday.

Bernaldez (20-3, 14 knockouts), said that a win against the 6-foot Bell in their super featherweight bout would surely be a stepping stone for him to get to bigger and better opportunities, like his ascent to the World title conversation.

“It will be great and big impact in my life [if I win] because it will definitely change my life, and it will be a stepping stone for a bigger and greater fights,” said Bernaldez.

“I dream to be a world boxing champion someday.”

Bernaldez will fight Bell at The Bubble inside MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Friday [Manila time] as Top Rank’s fight cards are only allowed to take place if it follows strict health protocols.

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