Philippines, 05 Jul 2022
  Home >> News >> Columns >> Rene Bonsubre, Jr.













By Rene Bonsubre, Jr.

Sun, 31 May 2009

He looks like a scrawny, awkward teenager. He does not have an intimidating presence and the look of a world class boxer. But make no mistake, Marvin Sonsona can knock you out.

Last May 28 at the Cebu Coliseum, he knocked out cold former two-time WBC interim world titlist Wandee Singwancha for the vacant WBO Oriental Flyweight Title in two short rounds. The Thailander was 11 years older and a 68 fight veteran who was expected to test the 18 year old Sonsona (13W-OL, 12KO's).
Two days after the fight, this writer had a chance to have an exclusive chat with Marvin together with trainer Feliciano ?Jun? Agrabio, Jr. and promoter Sammy Gello-ani.

I asked Marvin if he expected a quick ending.?No, I expected a much longer bout.? Sonsona replied, ? He is a former world champion after all. But I studied his fighting style and his bout against Nino Suelo and I knew I could take him.?

Marvin comes from a boxing family. He started boxing in the young age of 7 years old and trained earlier by his uncle Boy Sonsona. He is the eldest scion of Jovencio Sonsona who was a pro fighter with the ring name Ben Samson. Marvin was a multi-titled amateur boxer who fought two hundred bouts. His cousin, Eden Sonsona is also a pro boxer.

?My father used to bribe me with Pop Cola so I would train,? he fondly recalled. He discovered his punching power at age 12 and the amateur national team scouts came calling. But his family decided against his joining the national pool.

Marvin talked about his childhood in General Santos City: ?I used to work as a car washer and a garbage boy before I turned pro. I only reached second year high school. Boxing kept me away from all the temptation and vices. My close childhood friends went into a life of crime are now all dead. ?

It was Sammy Gello-ani and WBO Vice Pres. Leon Panoncillo who gave him the monicker ?Marvelous? after the legendary middleweight Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Unlike Hagler, who switches from southpaw to orthodox, Sonsona prefers the purely left handed stance.

Comparisons with Manny Pacquiao are expected; both are southpaws and live just an hour ride apart.

?I am honored by the comparison but Pacquiao already made his own path. I am now making mine.? he said. A tragic specter of Philippine boxing, former WBC superfeatherweight champ, Rolando Navarrete is his neighbor. Navarrete's present state however did not discourage Marvin from continuing boxing.

His trainer Jun Agrabio admires Marvin's maturity and focus in the ring. He runs 45 minutes uphill everyday along the hills of Cebu during training. Marvin said he does not think of anything else; no family problems, no distractions days going into a fight. They did not even tell him that his father was hospitalized when he was training. The elder Sonsona has since been discharged and saw his son capture his biggest victory so far. Marvin's mother, Illuminada is a nervous wreck every time his son gets inside the ring but is supportive of his son's career.

He has no problems making 112 lbs.on his 5'7? frame. He does walk around at featherweight during training. His strength and confidence has made him handle 126 pounders during sparring. His trainer has also exposed him to smaller speedy boxers. He has spared with Rey Villar, Eric Canoy, Johnreil Casimiro, Fabio Marfa and cousin Eden. His power is also the reason why he has never gone past the fifth round in his career. Jun Agrabio stated that he will be working more on his boxer's conditioning in the coming weeks.

Marvin turned pro at 16 and has never been knocked down even during his amateur days. ?My face is still unmarked.? he proudly declares.

Sonsona has the audacity of youth. He showed no remorse when asked what it was like to watch Singwancha being resuscitated inside the ring. This bravado has lead him to a possible title shot one division higher against Jose ?Carita? Lopez 39 W(KO 32) 7 L -2 D of Puerto Rico. Negotiations are ongoing but this may wind up being the biggest ?gift? of his career. Less than a week before his 19th birthday, he may wind up fighting in the Mayweather-Marquez undercard.

Marvin Sonsona could very well be Gen.Santos City's next marvelous gift to Philippine boxing.

Click here for a complete listing of columns by this author.

Click here for a complete listing of this author's articles from different news sources. has been created to support every aspiring
Filipino boxer and the Philippine boxing scene in general.
Please send comments to

developed and maintained by dong secuya
© 2022