Body of young boxer swept by raging waters found 2 days later
CEBU CITY, Philippines — A good man outside the ring. This was how boxers, even those whom Roberto Toto Landero had fought atop the ring described the young fighter who tragically died early this week.
Landero was reported missing on Monday when he was swept by raging waters while trying to cross an overflowing river in his hometown in Pontevedra, Negros Occidental.
The remains of the 26-year-old boxer were recovered on Wednesday after search and rescue operations were conducted by the local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (LDRRM).
Ex-world title challenger, Melvin Jerusalem of ZIP Sanman Boxing Team and Omega Boxing Gym’s top prospect Mark Vicelles lamented the untimely passing of their respected opponent.
Jerusalem and Landero fought twice in their career with the former winning both encounters in 2018 and 2021. Vicelles battled Landero in 2021 and won by unanimous decision. All of their bouts happened in Cebu.
“Bilib kaayo ko atong bataa kay lig-on jud kaayo. Pasalamat ko nga nagka abot mi ug kaduha ug safe ra mi sa among dula pag kahuman. Dili na basta-basta nga boxer si Landero. Isog sa ring pero buotan sa personal, Sayang kaayo kay bata pa siya,” said Jerusalem.
Jerusalem revealed that he served as one of Landero’s cornermen in last June 17’s “Engkwentro 13” at the Parkmall where the latter fought Omega Boxing Gym’s Christian Araneta.
After the bout, they talked about boxing and gave each other some motivational words.
“Last namo kita didto ko ni corner sa iyaha. Sige mi ug istorya. Ni ana pa ko niya nga pre paningkamot ug maayo kay mo champion pa ka. Bilib jud kaayo ko nimo pre bisan kulang ka sa training, makaabot ka pirmi ug round sa imong mga dula,” added Jerusalem.
For Vicelles, he considers Landero as one of his toughest opponents, and a good man outside the ring.
Vicelles said that he is deeply saddened and can’t believe the news about what happened to Landero.
“Memorable yung laban ko kay Toto (Landero). Isa sya sa magaling kung kalaban, pero mabait na bata si Toto. Nalungkot nga ako sa balita. Hindi ako makapaniwala na namatay na si Toto. Nakikiramay po ako sa pamilya niya,” said Vicelles who defeated Landero in 2021.
Landero fought for the WBA world minimumweight title in 2018 against Thammanoon Niyomtrong of Thailand. Despite losing by unanimous decision, he tried his luck in another world title against African Simpiwe Konkco for the IBO world minimumweight title but faltered.
He held a record of 11 wins, eight losses, two knockouts, and two draws. He is survived by his wife and two children. /rcg
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