EDRIN DAPUDONG, THE DREAM CATCHER
By Manny Piñol
Sun, 16 Jun 2013
(mannypinol.com) -- Johannesburg, South Africa - Winning a world boxing title was a dream I and my brothers have been chasing since we started a grassroots boxing program in North Cotabato in 1998.
It was also the dream of the young boys from the different towns of the province who joined the Braveheart Boxing Club which I and my brothers set up in my farm in Paco, Kidapawan City.
For us, producing a world champion was a goal that we wanted to achieve because I and my brothers believed that the boys from North Cotabato could become world champions if they are given the needed support and guidance.
For the young boys who shared our dream, it was their only way out of poverty.
Through the years, we produced boys whom we considered as potential world champions.
They are definitely not in the league of Nonito Donaire Jr., Brian Viloria and Manny Pacquiao, but we felt that with great perseverance and sacrifice, the young boys could be molded into better fighters.
Of the many boys in the farm who are from North Cotabato, three of them gained the chance to fight for the world championships through the help of friends and promoter Antonio Aldeguer of ALA Boxing of Cebu.
Miniflyweight Rommel Asenjo from Pigcawayan travelled to Mexico but lost by 3rd round KO to Mexican Rayito Garcia.
Lorenzo Villanueva of Midsayap fought Indonesian Daud Yordan in Singapore last year and had the Indonesian on the seat of his pants in the first round but ended up being stopped himself in the second round.
The other night, another Braveheart boxer, Jundy "Pretty Boy" Maraon, originally from Zamboanga del Sur who moved only to North Cotabato five years ago to join the club, also lost in a WBA title fight in New Jersey, USA.
Dapudong, who won in Mexico in 2010 the WBC Silver Flyweight title, which was just a minor title, fought twice - against Mexican Herman Marquez which ended in a premature stoppage in the 3rd round in Hermosillo, and against South African Gideon Buthelezi who was declared winner by split decision.
The first fight against Buthelezi was the closest the Braveheart boys had in winning a world title. Dapudong dominated the fight and knocked down the South African in the 9th round but two of the judges gave the fight to Buthelezi.
A formal protest was filed after the fight prompting the IBO President Edward Levine to order a rematch which happened last night here in Johannesburg.
Dapudong's victory was a vindication of his questionable defeat in the first meeting.
After this fight which gave North Cotabato its first world boxing champion, Dapudong, 27, is the dream catcher for having snared the dream that we have chased all of these years.
He will definitely serve as an inspiration to the other boys in the Braveheart Boxing Club and guide his teammates in catching their own dreams.
(Photo caption: Edrin Dapudong shows off the champion's belt in the dug out after his KO of Gideon Buthelezi. In the picture with me and Dapudong are cornerman Jeff de Guzman and South African boxing trainer Gert Strydom who helped the new champion in the bandaging and worked in the corner during the fight.)
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