Ex-world title challenger sends 3 boxers to Palarong Pambansa VisMin Cup finals

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A 52-YEAR-OLD former professional boxer and world title challenger, Edito "Ala" Villamor, has sent off three box fighters to the Palarong Pambansa Finals VisMin Cup, which was held Friday, July 15, at the Cebu City Sports Complex.

Edito is a former Philippine champion, two-time world challenger, former IBF 1, WBC 1, WBO 1, and four-time trainer of the Year Elorde Awards Night.

He started his boxing career at an early age of 15 and has been training new breed of boxers since 1999.

As a dedicated fighter, Edito hopes that his love for athletics will inspire young people.

He believes that it will allow them to be productive in their day-to-day living and keep them away from negative influences, like drug addiction.

"Gusto nako maka-tudlo sa mga kabantan-onan para malayo sila sa drugs. At the same time, passion nako ang pagtudlo sa mga bata," he said.

Edito teaches his students more than just boxing tactics and methods. He instills in them moral principles that will enable them to become better people in the future.

"Kung unsa ang nakat-onan nako sa Ala Promotions nga gi-guide ni sir Ala nako, mao sab akong e-teach sa mga bata — dili lang sa boxing kundi hasta pud ang values na pwede nila maapply sa ilahang real life," he said.

Edito is grateful for the staging of the Palarong Pambansa VisMin Boxing Cup this year, saying it allowed young box fighters to apply their expertise and harness their strength on the field.

Coach ALA’s finalists

Kirby Hoybia, Vicente Unidos, and AJ Ala Villamor (son of Edito), are the three semi-finalists under Edito's training.

Vicente Unidos, a 17-year-old box fighter and one of the finalists, is not a newbie to boxing as he has been in the boxing industry for six years. He competed in several boxing competitions, acquiring gold and silver medals.

From being a kid who enjoys picking fights, Vicente acknowledged that the training has influenced his character significantly.

"Boxing akong napili kay bata pa ko hilig jud kog sumbagay halos taga-adlaw sa skwelahan kitag away, ni abot pa ko sa punto nga gipa-undang kog skwela sa akong teacher kay nakakita ko og ka-sumbagay, nagisi ang kilay sa akong kontra," he said.

All throughout Vicente's experiences as a kid, and with the help of his mother's cousin, he decided to venture into boxing that later led him to a growing interest in the industry.

The father-son legacy

One of the most awaited boxing entrants from Cebu was AJ Ala Villamor, an international karate champion in 2019 and Edito’s son.

AJ admitted that boxing has never been his cup of tea until his father introduced him to the industry. His first winning fight prompted him to love boxing.

"At first, I was not really into boxing, but then my dad made a boxing gym and I won my first fight and that is where I really got into boxing," he said.

Edito's achievements in the boxing industry became AJ's benchmark toward his stepping stone as an aspiring box fighter.

Being a son of an international and multi-awarded box fighter, AJ is undeniable of the pressure he is feeling.

"I feel a lot of pressure especially when some of the people want me to soar high. However, with all the greetings of luck that I have received, I am motivated to do my best as today is going to be the final fight," he said Thursday, July 14.

AJ is a student at Mandaue City Comprehensive National High School, and like most multi-taskers, he struggles to find a balance between his academic obligations and his love for boxing.

"I had a hard time managing my training and studies, considering that my schedules are becoming hectic and constricted of all the things that have to be done at the same time — I answer my modules at the morning and then, go out for training in the afternoon," he said.

Despite the struggles and pressure, AJ was filled with positivity and confidence for his final fight in this year's Palarong Pambansa.

"To all of the boxers who made it to the final competition, I want to congratulate you for all the hard work and hard trainings that you have undergone. However, remember that no matter how struggle it is during the trainings, in the end, you will not regret about it. As I have said many times hard work beats talent," he added.

Motivation from a box fighter

According to Edito, a coach must demonstrate compassion and discipline toward children in order to make their learning experience enjoyable and develop in them the virtues of a responsible person and a box fighter.

Edito made sure that no member of his team was left behind and focused all of his attention on their growth in order to keep them on the right track.

"Love and passion nimo (sa boxing industry) -- mao gyud na ang sekreto nga makapadasig sa mga kabatan-onan, og mamahimo ta nilang idolo. Kinahanglan imo sab gyud silang tarongon og pagdala," he said.

Edito and his contenders have fought in the finals match of the Palarong Pambansa VisMin Boxing Cup.

Among the finalists from Cebu who competed Friday, July 15, were Khyl Sumalinog, Baricuatro Jay Bryan, Aranas Jemuel, and Fajardo Mark Anthony from team Cebu Province; and John Kevien Jimenez of team Cebu City. (Irish Delima, CNU intern)

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