Despite difficulties and struggles of keeping the boxing program alive, the young amateur boxers of Cagayan de Oro City remain a force to reckon with in the national front.
The CDO boxing team’s latest victory came when it bagged the overall championship in the Mindanao leg of 2019 Batang Pinoy Games held in Tagum City, Davao del Norte last month.
The City of Golden Friendship captured four gold medals, courtesy of Lady Jane Payla in the junior girls’ pinweight division, Angelou Lofranco in the junior boys’ pinweight, Jhasli John Illudar in the junior boys’ light flyweight and Rhein Jhon Gidor in the junior boys’ flyweight.
Rise to victory
Whatever sporting success now enjoyed by Cagayan de Oro can be traced all the way back to a province-wide sportsfest held in January 2005, when Oscar Moreno, who was the then governor of Misamis Oriental, launched the sportsfest hoping to discover potential homegrown young talents for competition not only in boxing but also in basketball, chess and volleyball.
Out of the hundreds of youthful aspirants who saw action in the sportsfest, a select pool was chosen and a stable of boxing talents slowly developed into the core of the Misamis Oriental Amateur Boxing Team.
The team’s baptism of fire came in the National Invitational Amateur Boxing Tournament in Magpet, North Cotabato where Daryl Basadre bagged the silver medal under the tutelage of two-time Olympian and Asian Games medalist Roberto Jalnaiz as head coach and Roel Densing as team manager.
Basadre’s victory marked the start of the team’s long journey to fame and glory.
“Didto na dayon naka-decide si Governor Moreno nga magbutang og training pool sa boxing (That’s the time when Governor Moreno decided to form a training pool in boxing),” Densing recalled.
Bolstered by Moreno’s committed support, the CDO Amateur Boxing Team competed with renewed vigor and enthusiasm in virtually most of the country’s major amateur boxing competitions.
In 2018, Team CDO won overall championship honors in the Batang Pinoy Mindanao Leg in Ozamiz City, the Palarong Pambansa in Vigan, Ilocos Sur; the Philippine National Games in Cebu City; and the Philippine Sports Commission-Pacquiao Amateur Boxing Cup in Davao City.
Moreno’s amateur boxing program produced world-class boxers like world champion Milan ‘El Metodico’ Melindo and the Pagara brothers, Jason and Prince Albert, who are now making a name for themselves in the professional boxing world. Another pride of CDO is Carlo Paalam who won the bronze medal in the 2018 Asian Games.
The Cagayan de Oro boxing team currently has more 20 male and female boxers training and setting their sights on winning championship glory for the City of Golden Friendship.
Mayor Moreno’s ultimate dream is to produce an Olympian.
In October last year, the Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation and Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines donated P1-million worth of financial aid and boxing equipment for the city’s amateur boxers.
Another donor, Embrace and Jaime Ongpin Foundation, gave sleeping materials, toiletries and medical packs.
“With their recent success (in the Batang Pinoy Mindanao Leg), there’s no way to go but up for Cagayan de Oro’s boxing team,” said Moreno, whose adamant support for the boxing team has earned notice and universal praise from Cagayan de Oro City constituents and avid boxing aficionados alike.
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