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Luisito Espinosa: They called him “The Earthquake”


PhilBoxing.com





San Francisco, California - It was late in the evening of October 17, 1989, when I got the call from Al S. Mendoza of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “I hope you and the family are ok. I’ve been trying to call Bangkok, but the lines are down,” the vacationing Mr. Mendoza said with a chaser, "Give me a buzz when you hear anything from your dad and Recah (Trinidad).”

It was the day of the San Francisco (Loma Prieta) earthquake, and everyone was on the edge due to its magnitude 6.9 on the Richter scale, paralyzing the entire Bay Area and halting Game 3 of the World Series of baseball between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics at Candlestick Park. The consequences amounted to 63 deaths, about 3,800 injured, and an estimated $6 billion in damages to properties. The quake was the strongest since 1906.
Half a world away and just a few hours before the catastrophe struck, the WBA bantamweight world title fight between hometown Thai hero Khaokor Galaxy and Filipino challenger Luisito Espinosa ended at the famed Rajadamnern Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
Jack Fiske of the SF Chronicle and Al Corona of the SF Examiner were a few of my father’s closest friends who called because of care and concern.

“I just wanted to check up on you. I’ll be here if you guys need anything,” Jack Fiske said. “Tell your dad and Luisito, congratulations. The Philippines must be proud.”



"We have news from Thailand. Luisito Espinosa knocked out Galaxy in one round. Send Hermie and Luisito our best. Take care. Watch out for the aftershocks.”

For the record, it was the late Al Corona who came up with the timely and cataclysmic nom de guerre for the first Filipino and one of only seven fighters in the history of boxing since 1892 to win the bantamweight and featherweight crowns.

Wrote Al Corona about the new WBA bantamweight champion in his column the next day: “They call him ‘The Earthquake’…”



“Gather up everyone and make sure everyone is safe. That temblor may just be the beginning... The Thai had Louie cornered early...But Luisito unleashed three consecutive lefts, first a weak jab, followed by a dig to the liver and then a searing hook... The Thai hero brushed off the initial attack, then waded in with his hands down...Luisito responded with an uppercut to the solar plexus...Seconds later, Galaxy wiped his brow, rolled his eyes, and then collapsed on the ropes. HINIMATAY YUNG KALABAN (the opponent had passed out)...The referee did not bother to count and waved the match off...




Click here to view a list of other articles written by Emmanuel Rivera, RRT.


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