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Filipino boxers to show prowess in Singapore

By late evening of Friday this week, April 20th, the Philippines might have its newest world boxing champion. Michael Dasmariñas, a Camarines Sur native, also known as “Gloves on Fire,” will be one of the two Filipinos fighting on the main card of Ringstar Boxing’s ‘Roar of Singapore IV – The Night of Champions’, which is set to take place at the 10,000-seater Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Dasmariñas, who is currently ranked 12th by WBC, will be up against French boxer Karim Guerfi, currently ranked 4th. At stake for both boxers is the IBO Bantamweight world title belt.

This is a huge opportunity for Dasmariñas who will be able to show his wares, not only in front of thousands who will be watching his fight live at the stadium in Singapore, but also to millions of possible viewers. Since the fight will be broadcast live in several countries, thanks to Fight Sports and Fox Sports Asia; with its pre-fight events, such as the presser and weigh ins, set to take place at the Marina Bay Sands.

But what’s interesting about Dasmariñas is his back story, which sounds like a true Pinoy telenovela.

When he was 9-years old, a family member burned his boxing gloves, just so he would give up the sport. But Dasmariñas persevered and stayed true to his calling. In fact, he was also able to obtain his high school scholarship because of the sport.

Dasmarinas, who is the 9th of 11 siblings, also shared how trying his growing up years were, financially. He in fact recounted how happy he was with the first income he made from boxing, which was a mere P200.00.

Dasmarinas says, “Masaya na ako noon sa halaga na iyon, maski papaano kumita ako ng pera. Naging inspirasyon ko ito para ipagpatuloy ang boxing. (I was happy I made that amount of money. It became my inspiration to carry on and pursue the sport of boxing).

With this fight, and a possible world title belt, Dasmariñas will surely be able to have more opportunities. He is also getting a lot of support and inspiration from boxing champions and legends, such as Senator Manny Pacquiao, Gerry Penalosa and Jerwin Ancajas.

When asked about Dasmariñas, Senator Pacquiao says, “He is ready to compete outside the country…and if he is ready to work hard and train hard, maybe he will win.”

Former world boxing champion Gerry Penalosa on the other hand says, “Ringstar is giving Filipino boxers such as Michael Dasmariñas and Jeson Umbal a big break. Without Ringstar, I don’t think that they can have an opportunity like this. They have to grab it,…the opportunity to have this break.”

He also got strong support from Philippine Azkals star Phil Younghusband, who recently made news himself for Azkals’ Asian Cup qualifier campaign, and for his 50th international goal. Younghusband himself helped promote Ringstar’s match via a video campaign that went viral, wherein he says, “Please watch and support Michael Dasmariñas vs. Karim Guerfi’s April 20 world title fight, for Ringstar’s ‘Roar of Singapore IV’, at Singapore Indoor Stadium.”

Dasmariñas also had the opportunity to show Philippine media his boxing skills during an open workout held at Kerry Sports, at Shangri-La Fort recently.

According to Dasmariñas, “Ito na yun pagkakataon ko na makuha ko yun pinaghirapan ko, at ginagawa ko lahat ng makakaya ko sa training para makuha natin ang panalo na ito, para sa bansa ito.” (This is my chance to reap the benefits of all my hard work, and I am doing my best in training so I can get this win for the country.)

Filipino southpaw Jeson Umbal, (16-5), who is also on the main card of ‘Roar of Singapore IV,’ will be going against Singapore’s pride, undefeated boxer, Muhamad “The Chosen Wan” Ridhwan, (9-0). At stake for both boxers, is the IBO Intercontinental Featherweight title. Umbal, who is known for his power punches, was also able to show his skills set during an open media workout, with Ridhwan, at Kerry Sports Manila as well.

According to boxing analyst Mike Ochosa, “Umbal boasts of a knock out to win ratio of close to seventy percent. Eleven out of his sixteen fights ended via the short route. The power puncher has won his last eight fights, and five of them recorded as a knock out wins.”

Ringstar’s Founder & CEO Scott Farrell says, “Roar of Singapore IV, will change the boxing scene in Asia forever. Dasmarinas has the chance to become the IBO world champion, if he can produce a win over the WBC ranked number 4, Karim Guerfi. While Jeson Umbal, a power puncher will face Muhamad Ridhwan in the main event. He has the chance to let the world know he is a true contender in the featherweight division. As a promoter, I am very excited to have the talent of Umbal and Dasmarinas in the main events.”

Good luck to both Filipino boxers!

The author may be reached at char_cruz@yahoo.com.

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