After Carlo Paalam’s golden performance in the Asian Elite Championships in Amman,Jordan barely a month ago, an up-and-coming youngster sparkled in the World Youth Championships which concluded Friday evening (Manila time) in La Nucia, Spain.
Ronel Suyom, a 17-year-old fighting out of the Cagayan de Oro Boxing team, scored several upsets en route to a silver medal finish in the tournament which attracted over 500 participants from 73 countries.
A native of Bukidnon, Suyom trained at the Cagayan de Oro gym founded by long-time CDO Mayor Oscar Moreno. The boxing program has been continued by the newly-elected City Executive Klarex Uy.
Suyom figured in the Finals of the tournament for 17 & 18 year olds after disposing of the host country’s bet in the minimum weight category, European Youth champion Rafael Lozano Serrano, even dropping the Spanish boy in the first round before notching a decisive 5-0 decision.
In the Finals, the Mindanao boy, who was orphaned of his mother at a young age and was raised by his grandmother in the boondocks of Bukidnon, fought competitively against a highly-favored boxer from India, Suresh Vishvanath, before bowing in a split decision, 4-1.
ABAP training director Don Abnett, said “Ronel looked a bit overwhelmed and could have stuck to the fight plan more. This is his first trip out of the Philippines after all, but he is young, talented and willing to learn. We will put him on a stringent strength and conditioning plan to toughen him up even more”.
ABAP chairman Ricky Vargas was ecstatic at the Philippine National Boxing Team’s performance in the last two major competitions saying, “the future looks bright for Philippine boxing. Let’s stay focused and give our boxers the opportunities they need.”
For his part, ABAP president Ed Picson thanked the “triumvirate that has been responsible for whatever semblance of success we have so far achieved—the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee and our private benefactor, the MVP Sports Foundation.
“We express our sincerest gratitude to PSC chairman Noli Eala, POC president Bambol Tolentino and MVPSF president Al Panlilio for their faith in our athletes and their continuing support of ABAP’s programs.”
Two other Filipino coaches led the team in Spain—ABAP coaches Elias Recaido and Elmer Pamisa.