Gabriel “Flash” Elorde’s Boxers of the Year awardees bantamweight fighter Marlon Tapales and Jerwin Ancajas knew the value of hard work. And that’s what they are preaching to those who want to make a career in boxing.
Speaking during the 17th Gabriel “Flash” Elorde Memorial Awards and Banquet of Champions on Saturday at The Tent in Manila Hotel, Tapales and Ancajas remembered the hardships they’ve gone through before reaching their current status in boxing.
The World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight titleholder Tapales said he never gives up during the trying times and finally got his chance when he won the title against Thai’s Panya Uthok July last year in Thailand via 11th round knockout.
“Even I was knocked down twice during my last world title fight, I didn’t give up until I finally knocked him out,” Tapales told The Manila Times.
“We need to work harder that’s my advice to the young generation of Filipino boxers,” added Tapales, who will be defending his belt against Japanese Shohei Omori on April 23 in Japan. “If we want to follow the footsteps of Manny Pacquiao and Gabriel Flash Elorde, we need to double our hard work.”
The 25-year-old Ancajas, the reigning International Boxing Federation (IBF) super flyweight champion, also shared the same sentiments.
“We must learn how to face adversity. The only way to overcome it is to train harder and smarter. Don’t skip training,” he said.
Ancajas was virtually unknown in boxing until he dethroned McJoe Arroyo of Puerto Rico last September in Taguig City to become the IBF super flyweight champion. He successfully defended the title against Mexican Jose Alfredo Rodriguez via technical knockout in Macau, China last January 29.
Aside from Tapales and Ancajas, the other Elorde Boxers of the Year awardee was former IBF flyweight champion Johnriel Casimero, who relinquished his belt last December as moved up to the super flyweight class.
Longest Filipino world champion and flyweight campaigner Donnie Nietes, who was given the Award of Distinction, also agreed that the new batch of Filipino boxers must learn to embrace hard work and perseverance.
“There are a lot of boxers who came from poverty so they are doing their best to excel and I’m one of them,” said Nietes, who will be fighting for his third division title when he takes on Thai Komgrich Nantapech on April 29 in Cebu for the vacant IBF flyweight belt.
“We must give our best every training and of course every fight,” added Nietes, a Hall of Famer in the Elorde Awards.
Games and Amusements Board chairm Abraham Khalil Mitra was one of the guests in the awarding rites where organizers honored 14 Philippine champions and 43 regional and international titleholders from the world’s major boxing organizations.
The Boxing Awards and Banquet of Champions is being held annually in memory of Flash Elorde, the world and international Hall of Fame awardee who reigned as undisputed world junior lightweight champion for seven consecutive years since 1960.
Senator Manny Pacquiao was also handed the Award of Distinction but did to attend the ceremony.
JOSEF T. RAMOS