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Boxing: WBO, GAB execs optimistic PH will end world title drought soon

By: Glendale G. Rosal - CDN Digital Correspondent | March 10,2024 - 08:03 AM


Leon Panoncillo (left) and Richard Clarin (right). | Facebook photos

CEBU CITY, Philippines — World Boxing Organization (WBO) Asia Pacific president Leon Panoncillo and the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Richard Clarin share the belief that it’s only a matter of time for the Philippines to produce a new boxing world champion.

Clarin and Panoncillo were in Tagbilaran City recently to officiate two WBO and WBA regional title bouts in the PMI Bohol Boxing Promotions-backed fight card billed as “Kumong Bol-Anon XIV.” 

During the pre-fight presser, Panoncillo explained that there are many talented Filipino boxers who have a huge chance to become a world champion.

ALSO READ: More Filipino boxers gunning for world title in 2024

His statement came after many Filipino boxing fans were in utter dismay of the recent string of losses by Filipino boxing contenders in Japan and the Philippines’ not having a single world champion in boxing. 

Panoncillo explained that Filipino boxing fans should not just focus on Japan’s meteoric rise in boxing since this is just part of Asia’s renaissance in the sport. 

“They have a superstar in Japan, Naoya Inoue, who is the undisputed and pound-for-pound champion right now. Every classified division is now a WBO Asia Pacific champion in Japan. Asia now holding a lot of WBO regional titles, in the Philippines, Korea, and Vietnam,” said Panoncillo.

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Panoncillo gave props to local promoters, especially PMI Bohol Boxing Promotions, for steadily providing their boxers regional title bouts which are important to put them in the world rankings.

“I believe that PMI is doing a lot of regional fights for the WBO that will eventually hold a world title fight in one of these days. Now we have Regie Suganob that’s highly ranked in the WBO, owning the WBO global junior flyweight title, is on the verge now to become the mandatory title challenger opportunity. I’m looking forward that the Philippines will eventually fight for a world title, especially here in Bohol,” said Panoncillo.

“I’m proud and honored to be part of PMI’s promotions, there’s a lot of opportunity around Asia. There’s a lot of talented fighters who are in the verge of becoming world champions. that the Philippines will produce a world champion this year or in the near future,” he added. 


For his part, Clarin reminded Filipino boxing fans not to take away Japan’s dominance in boxing today. He explained that the Japanese boxing community earned every success that they are currently enjoying. 

ALSO READ: Araneta-Nontshinga rematch looms as IBF orders world title clash

“Everybody say it’s their time. So, let’s not take away that’s something from them, they did something right because they have a lot of champions right now,” said Clarin, who also supervised the WBA regional title bout in PMI’s Kumong Bol-Anon XIV fight card on March 8. 

“Let’s not take away the heart of the Filipinos because, we are at par with world champions. Maybe it’s a matter of getting back into the drawing board, and do something right, but it’s not enough currently.” 

Like Panoncillo, Clarin believes that the Philippines’ talent pool in boxing has the heart and capacity to become a world champion, and it’s only a matter of time to produce one. 

“We do have the talent and the heart for it, the Filipinos have the heart of champions. We at GAB family, we are here to protect the welfare of our athletes, especially our boxers. We are aligning with officials, promoters, and professional boxers to see what can we do, what else can we learn of what’s happening now in the world,” said Clarin.

“I’m sure the training program for trainers to nutritional and scientific way of training world champions. Filipinos are still top-rated boxers and definitely we will come back stronger and will have new world champions this year,” he added. 

Currently, the Philippines have seven boxers who are guaranteed for world title shots with former world champion, Melvin Jerusalem next in line as he takes on Yudai Shigeoka for the WBC World minimumweight title on March 31 in Nagoya, Japan. 

Jerusalem is one of the contenders with the biggest chance of winning a world title since he already proved it in 2023 by knocking out erstwhile WBO world minimumweight champion Masataka Taniguchi in the latter’s own turf in Osaka, Japan to become a world champion. 

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TAGS: boxing, champion, GAB, Japan, WBO

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