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News  


Fil-Brit out for boxing gold


PhilBoxing.com



John Marvin.

ABAP executive director Ed Picson said yesterday Fil-Brit boxer John Marvin, a late discovery from out of the blue, might just pull a surprise to win the gold medal in the lightheavyweight division at the coming SEA Games in Malaysia.


Picson said he received a blind e-mail from Marvin last May inquiring about fighting for the Philippines. “It came out of nowhere,” said Picson. “John wanted to fly over since he has a Philippine passport. He sent us videos of his fights. We had nothing to lose. I told him to pay his way to Manila and if he makes the team, we’ll reimburse his expenses. But John couldn’t raise the money so (ABAP president) Mr. (Ricky) Vargas decided to advance it.”

Picson said ABAP’s gamble paid off. “John’s easy to get along with,” he said. “He likes Filipino food, he doesn’t mind bunking with four or five guys in a room, he just wants an opportunity to box for the country. We considered one of our veterans Willie Lopez for the lightheavyweight slot but when they sparred, John got the better of him. He held his own and took Willie’s best shots. The coaching staff decided to go with John. He went with the team for training in China and he’s now getting a monthly allowance of P11,000 from the PSC as a member of the national pool.”

Marvin, 24, is a British lance corporal with the 1st battalion of the Princess of Wales regiment based in Germany. His father John, Sr. is a retired professional singer, former cruise director and now a yacht master. His Filipina mother is Teresita Tupas from Pampanga. His younger brother Jonathan, 22, is with the merchant navy. As a boy, Marvin used to make regular visits to the Philippines with his family. But before this trip, he hadn’t been back in 11 years. Marvin said he expects his parents to be at ringside in K.L.

Marvin learned how to box when he was seven and joined the Ventnor Club under coach Darren Green at the Isle of Wight. When he joined the Army, Marvin signed up for the boxing team and it led to winning the middleweight and cruiserweight titles in combined military services tournaments. He’s been with the British Army boxing team for five years.

“Last year, I was invited to participate in a Filipino-British boxing competition in England but I couldn’t join,” he said. “That opened my eyes to the possibility of fighting for the Philippines. So I sent an e-mail to ABAP asking how to go about it. Now that I’m with the national team, my goal is to make the best of this chance. I don’t know what the future will bring. Life is full of surprises. But I’m definitely going for gold in the SEA Games. I’m aspiring to fight at the Asian Games and the Olympics.”

Marvin said the fighter he most admires is Muhammad Ali. “I’m inspired by him, he’s my motivation to fight,” he said. “Do I try to fight like Ali? No. I don’t try to fight like anyone. I’ve developed my own style. I’d rather not describe how I fight. I don’t want to give bullets to the enemy. Let’s just wait for the bell to ring at the SEA Games.”


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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