THE biggest names in Philippine boxing from Gabriel “Flash” Elorde to Manny Pacquiao were honored during the 3rd World Boxing Council (WBC) Women’s Convention and Asian Summit during its Gala Dinner and Awards Night at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) last Saturday.
Close to 500 foreign and local delegates watched in awe as the heroics of both Elorde, who became the first Asian inducted into the New York-based International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993, and Pacquiao, the eight-division champion now considered as the greatest Filipino fighter of all time, were recalled during a nostalgic presentation shown on a giant screen on stage.
“It is only fitting that we, in this WBC Convention, pay tribute to all the great Filipino personalities who made an impact inside and outside of the ring,” said Games and Amusement Board (GAB)chairman Baham Mitra during the four-hour long ceremony attended by Christiana Manzur, wife of WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman, and other top WBC officials.
Elorde, who passed away in 1985 at the age of 49, and Pacquiao led a long list of distinguished Filipino boxing personalities who were feted in the fourth WBC convention to be held in the country since 1967 and first WBC women’s convention to be held outside of Mexico.
Elorde was represented by his loving wife Laura and family. Pacquiao failed to attend the ceremony since he has already left for New York City as part of the promotional tour of his coming WBA title fight against Adrien Bronner in Las Vegas on Jan. 19.
Also honored posthumously were former WBC president Justiniano Montano Jr. and secretary-general Atty. Rodrigo Salud, who led the association when the WBC Constitution and By-Laws were ratified during the 1967 Convention; Pedro Adigue and Elorde’s father-in-law and trainer-manager Lope “Papa” Sarreal.
Joining in the honor roll were former WBC titleholders Rene Barrientos, Erbito Salavarria, Rolando “Bad Boy” Navarrete, Frank Cedeno, Luisito Espinosa, Rolando Pascua, Gerry Penalosa, Malcolm Tunacao, Brian Viloria, Rodel Mayol, Nonito Donaire and Sonny Boy Jaro and reigning champions Jerwin Ancajas and Michael Dasmariñas.
Also recognized were former GAB officials Juan Ramon Guanzon, Eric Buhain, Eduardo Villanueva, Dominador Cepeda, Francisco Sumulong and Alberto Antonio.
OPBF president Tsuyoshi Yasukochi of Japan and WBC Asian Boxing Council and WBC Muay Thai president Gen. Khovid Bhakdibhumi of Thailand delivered messages.
Also present were WBC Cares international chairperson Jill Diamond of the US, WBC women’s championship committee chairman Malte Muller-Michaelis of Germany, WBC women’s featherweight champion Jelena Mrdjenovich of Canada, former WBC women’s super welterweight titlist Mia St. John of the US, WBC diamond women’s superflyweight champion Raja Amasheh of Jordan and flyweight Sulem Urbina of Mexico.
Late Sunday, the WBC Cares visited the Tuloy Sa Don Bosco Streetchildren Village in Alabang where more than P100,000 worth of groceries and toiletries, footballs and sports equipment were donated by the WBC and GAB.