Young Pinoy amateur boxer raring to compete after receiving special blessing from Pacquiao
By Rich Mazon
Fri, 09 Nov 2012
Fourteen year old Jessie Roman Mandapat of Anaheim, California is slated to participate in the annual Gene Lewis boxing tournament in Mesa, Arizona today.
The young amateur boxer traveled with his father and other members of the Grampas Boxing Club of Los Angeles where he belongs, with high hopes of success in Arizona’s biggest amateur boxing competition.
“I am feeling confident right now. I’ve been training so hard for this,” said the young boxer.
Mandapat was watching tapes of his counterpart for Friday’s competition when Philboxing.com talked to him.
“I saw him fight earlier, he’s really good but I think I can do better.” expressed the young amateur.
Mandapat will compete in the 85 pound class for 13-14 year olds in the competition. If he wins tomorrow, Mandapat will advance to the finals scheduled for Saturday.
Before leaving for Arizona, the young Filipino teenager had a special encounter with the most popular boxer of his country, in Manny Pacquiao.
Mandapat who jogged with Pacquiao a couple of times in the past paid a visit to the famous boxer last Saturday in Los Angeles. Pacquiao not only wished him luck on his forthcoming competition but also prayed over the young amateur boxer.
“He prayed that I be given strength and also for my safety,” Mandapat narrated.
Pacquiao held the young boxer’s two hands and prayed over him at the Pan Pacific Park in Los Angeles after the boxer’s morning workout. He blessed him and wished Mandapat luck on his upcoming competition.
“I felt really good because the champion of the world blessed me,” Mandapat expressed and admitted that he felt “really good” after that special interaction with Pacquiao.
Mandapat’s father Jess disclosed that his son looks at Pacquiao not only as an athlete but as a role model, especially now that Pacquiao has been vocal about his faith.
“Last year,humingi siya kay Manny ng Bible at saka he always remind me to pray ( Jessie asked Manny for a bible last year and he always reminds me to pray)," said the older Mandapat.
“Jessie always looks up to him, lalo ngayon (especially now), ten times more,” He added.
The young Jessie will climb the ring today in Arizona armed with skills brought about by his training in the gym and also with that “special blessing” from his role model and favorite athlete.
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Photo: Pacquiao praying over Jessie Mandapat.
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