People’s champion Manny Pacquiao accomplished something wonder-ful in his career in 2016 becoming an elected senator of the country and regaining a world title while four more other Filipino fighters finally took home world boxing titles too.
Almost 11 months of rest after losing to unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015, Pacquiao returned to the ring and defeated Timothy Bradley for the second time via unanimous decision last April 9 in Las Vegas, USA before announcing his brief retirement in boxing to focus on his senatorial candidacy.
Pacquiao, 38, winner of eight titles in different weight divisions, was proclaimed the seventh senator of the Republic of the Philippines last May 19. Four months later, he came out from retirement and announced his comeback bout on November 5 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA against Jessie Vargas.
“Boxing is my bread and better, my livelihood. I love the sport very much,” Pacquiao (59-6-2 win-loss-draw record with 38 knockouts) said to group of reporters after announcing his comeback. “I will fight and train without sacrificing my legislative duties in the Senate.”
Pacquiao, then, overpowered the 28-year-old Vargas via unanimous decision to recapture the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight belt. He became the first ever Filipino senator who is also a boxing world champion.
Aside from Pacquiao, young guns International Boxing Federation (IBF) super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas, WBO bantamweight titleholder Marlon Tapales, IBF light flyweight Milan Melindo and former IBF flyweight champion Johnriel Casimero have brought pride and glory to the country for this year.
Ancajas, who will turn 25 in January 1, dethroned erstwhile undefeated Puerto Rican McJoe Arroyo last September 3 in Taguig City via unanimous decision to win the IBF super flyweight belt. He improved his win-loss-draw record to 25-1-1 with 16 knockouts this year.
Prior to Ancajas’ world title win, the 24-year-old Tapales (29-2 record with 12 knockouts) scored a grueling 11th round technical knockout victory over Thai Panya Uthok last July 7 to capture the WBO title in front of the opposing crowd in Ayutthaya, Thailand.
Melindo (35-2 record with 12 knockouts) finally won a world title after two failed attempts by beating Teeraphong Utaida of Thailand through a unanimous decision in Cebu City last November 26 and becoming the IBF interim light flyweight champion.
Casimero, on the other hand, started the year 2016 with a bang as he avenged his 2014 loss against erstwhile IBF flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng by posting a fourth round technical knockout victory last May 25 in Beijing China to become a world titleholder for the second time.
Casimero (23-3 record with 15 knockouts) successfully defended his title against British foe Charlie Edwards via 10th round technical knockout last September 10 in London.
Prior to the Christmas eve, he decided to vacate his belt and move up to the super flyweight to chase unbeaten Nicaraguan Roman Gonzalez next year.
In another boxing highlight this year, longest Filipino world titleholder Donnie “Ahas” Nietes vacated the WBO light flyweight belt and climbed up to the flyweight rank.
Nietes (39-1-4 record with 22 knockouts) debuted impressively in 112-pound class beating Edgar Sosa via unanimous decision last September 24 in StubHub Center in Carson, California in USA. Next year, Nietes is targeting any of the vacant IBF flyweight belt and the WBO flyweight belt of Zou Shiming.
Unfortunately, not all boxers are lucky this year. Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr. lost his WBO super bantamweight belt to Mexican Jessie Magdaleno via unanimous decision last November 5 in Las Vegas, USA during the Pacquiao-Vargas main event card.
Donaire Jr. (37-4 record with 24 knockouts) defended well that belt last April 23 in Cebu City by beating Hungarian Zsolt Bedak via technical knockout. Donaire Jr. and his father trainer Nonong Donaire had also split up last August due to personal reason.
In the amateur side, Filipino boxers Rogen Ladon (light flyweight) and Charly Suarez (lightweight) suffered massive disappointment in the Rio Olympics last August after bowing to their respective opponents in the first round of the quadrennial meet.