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By Dong Secuya
25 Oct 2017


HAVANA, CUBA – Another convention and another stellar performance report by Leon Panoncillo Jr. – And he gets a standing ovation for his latest coup during the ongoing 30th WBO convention aboard the luxury cruise ship Norwegian Sky here Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila), currently docked at the historic city of Havana, the capital city of Cuba.

From a non-entity seven years ago, Panoncillo, the WBO vice-president for Asia-Pacific region, has single-handedly transformed the WBO into a powerhouse boxing organization in Asia and the Pacific region, leaving behind its rival organizations far behind. Panoncillo also continues to build the foundation on future boxing engines China and India and made the WBO presence strongly felt in Japan and Australia. With its partnership with China's promoters, notably SECA and Top Rank, and Panocillo's consultancy role in China's Professional Boxing Commission, China has now more than a thousand registered professional boxers, a real positive development considering that China banned boxing for decades and only competed back in the amateurs in the 1985 and in the professionals, just a few years ago.

In the last 12 months ending October 15, Panoncillo has sanctioned a total of 95 regional title bouts including 24 for the WBO Asia Pacific belt, 21 for the WBO Oriental belt, 10 for WBO Africa belt, 6 for WBO Asia-Pacific Youth belt, 14 for WBO International belt and 6 for WBO Greater China belt contributing a total of $190,346.61 revenue to the WBO.

“I don't how he did it, but he did,” WBO president Francisco 'Paco' Valcarcel quipped after Panoncillo presented his performance report and tagged the Hawaii-born Filipino as his go-to guy.

“If we have a problem we turn to Leon – Leon take care of that! We had a problem in China, we called Leon, we had a problem in Africa, Leon fixed it and turned it around,” Valcarcel said who recalled how he met Panoncillo and Australia's Danny Leigh in 1995 in Las Vegas as “two young pups” who proposed working for the WBO in the Asia-Pacific region.

Six of the 17 division world titles under WBO are currently being held champions in the Asia-Pacific region.

The WBO executive committee members honor Leon Panoncillo Jr with a standing ovation after his stellar performance report at the ongoing WBO 30th convetion held aboard the luxury cruise ship Norwegian Sky Tuesday.

A summary of Panoncillo's report is flashed on the screen.

WBO president Francisco 'Paco' Valcarcel waxes emotional as he recalled what happened to Puerto Rico last month after it was hit by two devastating hurricanes.

Meanwhile Valcarcel waxed emotional as he narrated in Spanish what happened to Puerto Rico last month when two powerful hurricanes – category 4 Irma, made a direct hit to the island first week of September, and category 4 Maria, made another direct hit to the island on September 20. The two calamities rendered Puerto Rico out of water and electricity that basically stopped its economic activity forcing thousands of Puerto Ricans moving out of the island into the mainland United States. Electricity in the island may take up to a year to get restored.

The two powerful hurricanes also inflict similar damage to some islands in the Carribeans, especially St. Martin, and the Bahamas and in coastal areas of the state of Florida including Miami and Ft Lauderdale. Cuba was also hit by Irma but was spared by its most devastating force.

Dubbed as an eternal optimist, Valcarcel said “we will recover from this tragedy” – and the present convention pushing through testifies to that resolve. Valcarcel also said that he will transfer the operations of the WBO in Florida while Puerto Rico recovers.

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