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PANONCILLO CONTINUES WBO GROWTH IN ASIA


PhilBoxing.com



Leon Panoncillo Jr.

TOKYO – As the World Boxing Organization (WBO) enters into the next decade having firmly established its reputation as one of the highly respected boxing bodies in the world, its vice president for Asia-Pacific region Leon Panoncillo Jnr continues to set the standard for excellence by developing new markets thus bringing professional boxing to the then untapped countries in the region as well as creating fresh sources of funds for the organization.

The WBO's crowning glory thus far is its solid foothold in Japan, undeniably Asia's boxing capital. The WBO held its first sanctioned bout in Japan on Sep. 13, 2016 between Tokyo resident Akihiro Kondo and Jeffrey Arienza of the Philippines for the vacant WBO Asia-Pacific welterweight title Now, three years after, the WBO arguably is the busiest boxing organization in Japan sanctioning events continuously every month and throughout the year, thanks to Panoncillo. The WBO currently has two Japanese world champions in super flyweight Kazuto Ioka and flyweight Kosei Tanaka as well as nine Japanese WBO Asia-Pacific champions in nine weight classes.

This year's WBO Convention in Tokyo testifies to the reaping of the mature fruit of the tree of labor that Panoncillo had sown a few years back. Panoncillo was instrumental in bringing in delegates from China, India and Vietnam – countries that Panoncillo recently developed – as well as from the historically rich boxing countries of Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines to participate in this year's convention. They join delegates from traditional boxing countries of North and South America and Europe.

Fightnews' David Finger compared Panoncillo to 19-time MLB all-star Cal Ripken Jr. who had compiled 3,184 hits in his professional baseball career. Panoncillo had another homerun in his yearly report during this year's convention where his glowing achievement has become the de facto standard for the other members of the WBO executive committee to emulate.

Overall Panoncillo has increased his revenue to $316 thousand US dollars from last year's $278 thousand, a growth of 14%. The bulk of this came from the highly sought after WBO International belt, a prelude to a world championship belt, which accounts for 35 sanctioned fights with a revenue of $142 thousand US dollars. Coming in next is the WBO Oriental which has 20 sanctioned fights and with a revenue of $56 US dollars. Not far behind is the WBO Asia-Pacific belt which has 20 sanctioned fights and a revenue of $45 US dollars. Another money-maker is the WBO Africa which has 20 sanctioned fights and a revenue of $44 US dollars. The rest of the sanctioned fights that contributed to the total are the WBO Asia-Pacific Youth, WBO Asia-Pacific Female, WBO Oriental Youth, WBO Africa Youth, WBO China National and WBO Greater China.

If professional boxing will continue to expand and becomes widely popular in the entire Asian region in coming years, it is certain that part of it, if not a big part of it, is because of the tireless effort of one man to promote boxing in the region. For the WBO, as their slogan during this year's convention says, “We Came To Stay” – and surely they will.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Dong Secuya.


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