Philippines, 27 Mar 2023
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Filipino-American Leon Panoncillo proud to be Pacquiao-Mosley fight supevisor

LAS VEGAS, USA ? Born in Hawaii, USA, Filipino-American Leon Panoncillo, Jr. is the World Boxing Organization (WBO) supervisor in command for tonight's mega fight between WBO welterweight world champion Manny Pacquiao and three-time title holder Sugar Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand Arena here in Las Vegas.

?As a Filipino and as an American, it's the greatest honor to be in charge of this historic event. It's a huge responsibility and a privilege,? shared Panoncillo who has been immersed in professional boxing during the last 20 years of his life.

?I began in boxing as a trainer. I loved the sweat and physical intensity of being a boxing trainer. It used to be intense everyday. And got close to my fighters. That was so long ago... but I am still good friends with the boxers I used to train. Then, I work as a manager and promoter. I promoted boxing events in my home state of Hawaii,? continued Panoncillo who is the Vice-President and Chairman for Asia Pacific, Oriental and Africa Zone of the WBO.

Panoncillo's first contact with the WBO occurred during the Chavez-De la Hoya fight in June of 1996 when he met Don Paco Varcarcel, the WBO president. And the veteran boxing leader from ?La Isla del Encanto? foresaw the potential of leadership in Panoncilllo and did not hesitate to invite the young Fil-Am to join the promising the then budding organization. In fact, the Boricua leader trusted Panoncillo with the no easy task of being in charge of promoting the WBO in Asia and Africa.

Panoncillo accepted the huge challenge and his matrimony with the WBO began.

?It was during that great fight of Chavez-De la Hoya at Ceasar's Palace that I met Don Paco Varcarcel. Since then, he as been a great, visionary leader to me and to our organization. I felt his trust on my work. It was inspirational. I had to begin from zero. And after 15-years developing boxing in the whole Asia Pacific region, the WBO is now the number one, most popular and most prestigious boxing organization. These is professionally rewarding. And, we keep on growing. Now I am devoting time and efforts in developing boxing in China, as well as in other countries of the region,? commented Panoncillo, whose proud Pinoy heritage comes from the island of Cebu in the Philippines.

Leon Panoncillo's main interest is to create opportunities for young fighters to shine in the international scene through the WBO. ?When any fighter wins a regional or youth WBO titles, he automatically gets into our rankings. That provides exposure. Makes them available to major promoters, to be known around the world and to strengthen their boxing careers.?

Further to working with fighters and promoters in Asia, Panoncillo also focuses in developing professional boxing officials, referees and judges for the WBO. He personally pays attention that every judge and referee is fair and neutral, making sure that only the best officials are in charge of scoring a fight.

Panoncillo, who heads the WBO regional headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, looks forward to continue leading the expansion of his organization in that part of the world and sees his choosing as the supervisor in charge of most important fight of the year as a showing of the importance the WBO places in the development of boxing in Asia-Pacific and Africa region.

?Pacquiao vs Mosley here at the MGM in Las Vegas is a historic event, one for the books. I am taking care of my duties as a supervisor in charge, will be reading the WBO rules of combat for a title fight and paying close attention that everything works out according to the rules. I am proud and honored for this responsibility,? concluded Leon Panoncillo.

Top photo: WBO Vice-President Leon Panonillo (L) looks at the scales as Manny Pacquiao (C) weighs in during Friday's official weighin ceremony. At right is Mosley's trainer Nazim Richardson. Photo by Dr Ed de la Vega.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Carlos Costa.

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