Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The “Sweet” Fists of the Philippines’ Newest Boxing Prospect: 1 On 1 With Genesis Azucal Servania by: James U. Sy Jr.

Newly crowned World Boxing Council (WBC) international silver super bantamweight and World Boxing Organization (WBO) Asia Pacific super bantamweight champion Genesis Azucal Cervania of Bacolod City pose for the Negros Daily Bulletin (James U. Sy Jr./NDB photo).
Newly crowned World Boxing Council (WBC) international silver super bantamweight and World Boxing Organization (WBO) Asia Pacific super bantamweight champion Genesis Azucal Cervania of Bacolod City with Negros Daily Bulletin writer James U. Sy Jr. (James U. Sy Jr./NDB photo).
Newly crowned World Boxing Council (WBC) international silver super bantamweight and World Boxing Organization (WBO) Asia Pacific super bantamweight champion Genesis Azucal Cervania of Bacolod City with Coach Gil Jamili (left) and national referee Cesar Gamboa (James U. Sy Jr./NDB photo). It is unknown to many but Visayans are some of the best warriors that the Philippines had ever produced. Prof. William Henry Scott, who wrote many historical works on Philippine history and culture based on his personal study of primary source materials, had described pre-Hispanic Visayans as fierce warriors, constantly engaging in interbaranganic warfare, locally known as panggubat and pangayaw, as compared to the Tagalogs who were more “business like” (this is not to say that the 16th Century Tagalogs were not warriors, only that their priority was trade). This truism extends even to modern times. Arnis/Eskrima, the indigenous Filipino Martial Arts (FMA), is predominantly taught and propagated by ethnic Visayan grandmasters and masters in both the Philippines and abroad. One has just to see the books of Inosanto, Sulite, Wiley, Godhania, Galang, and Nepangue and Macachor, among others to realize this. Even in the field of other martial arts, Visayans have also excelled. Monsour del Rosario of Bacolod, 8 times Philippine national lightweight taekwondo champion (1982-1989), was once rated No. 2 in Asia and 3rd in the world (if my memory serves me right). Other Visayans who gave honor to the country include 8 times SEA Games Judo champion John Baylon of Binalbagan, world Wushu Sanshou champions Rene Catalan of Sta. Barabara, world Muay Thai champion Robin Catalan of Sta. Barabara, Bacolod-born World Professional Muay Thai Federation (WPMTF) super middleweight champion Vince Patrick Esteban Casa Soberano, World Kickboxing Federation (WKBF) K-1 Muay Thai super welterweight champion Steve Sur Grandeza of Davao, and SEA Games Tai Chi champion Stella Unson of Bacolod among others. Boxing, one of the four big B’s of Philippine sports, has produced the most number of Filipino world champions and has contributed 5 of the first 9 Olympic medals taken home by Filipino athletes in the Olympics Games starting with the Philippines’ participation in 1924; The Philippines’ two Olympic silver medals came from boxing. Philippine boxing is virtually a who’s who of Visayan champions. The most recognizable to today’s generation is Congressman Emmanuel “Manny/Pacman” Pacquiao of General Santos, the first ever 8 weight division world champion, but the glorious days of Visayan boxing champions extend way back the time of Pancho Villa (born: Francisco Guilledo) (1901-1925) of Ilog, Negros Occidental, who went on to become the first world boxing champion from Asia in the early 1920’s, and Gabriel "Flash" Elorde (1935-1985) of Bogo, Cebu, named by the World Boxing Council (WBC) as the greatest world junior lightweight champion in its history, the longest reigning champion of the division (7 year reign), and the first Asian inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Other Visayan world boxing champions include Rolando Bohol (B: 1965) of Murcia, Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire, Jr. (B: 1982) of Talibon, Bohol, Joma Gamboa of Bacolod, Eric Jamili of Silay, Sonny Boy Jaro (B: 1982) of Silay City, Little Dado (born: Eleuterio Zapanta) (1916–1965) of La Carlota City, Rodel Bryan Generalao Mayol (B: 1981) of Mandaue City, Cebu, Donnie “Ahas” Nietes of Murcia, Dodie Boy and Gerónimo “Gerry” Peñalosa of San Carlos City, Small Montana (born: Benjamin Gan) (1913-1976) of La Carlota City, Malcolm Alindajao Tuñacao (B: 1978) of Mandaue City, and Benjamin Villaflor (B: 1952) of Negros Occidental among others. Visayan amateur champions include Olympic Games bronze and silver medalists Roel and Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco of Bago City, Asian Games champions Reynaldo Galido of Bago City and Joan Tipon of Talisay City, negros Occidental, and Asian women’s champions Mitchell Martinez of Pulupandan among others. The above enumerated champions are in no way a complete list, they are just too many to name within a limited space (I will be doing a more comprehensive article in the near future). As this goes to press, many more Filipino boxers are making their way to the ladder of success. This writer had the fortune to personally meet and was granted a one on one interview with one of the newest and most promising boxing prospects from the Philippines today, Genesis Azucal Servania, during the Alaxan FR Unveiling of the Court of Inspiration last August 26, 2012 at Prk. Langka, Brgy. Taloc, Bago City, Negros Occidental. He was in town to visit his family and will be back to Cebu by August 29. Genesis Azucal Cervania was born on August 25, 1991 to Rosilona and Antonio Cervania as the fifth among seven siblings in Bacolod City. Cervania came from a poor family. By 15, he started to box under the tutelage of Gil Jamili of the Jamili Boxing Club (Brgy. Taloc, Bago City). Before, he and three other siblings were into boxing but now only he and his brother Roland continue training. His parents supported him and he joined local tournaments as an amateur. He no longer remembers his exact amateur record but it was more than 20 bouts. Five years later, he relocated to Cebu where he was introduced by a friend, who was an ALA fighter, to Antonio L. Aldeguer, the big boss of the famed ALA Boxing Gym. Thus began his pro boxing career. He is now promoted by ALA Promotions, managed by Aldeguer, and trained by Editor Villamor. At the ALA Gym, Cervania got to work out and practice with A.J. “Bazooka” Banal, Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista, Michael Domingo, Orient Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) flyweight champion Rocky Fuentes, RP super featherweight champion and former OPBF super bantamweight champion Jimrex “The Executioner” Jaca (Born: Jemuel Divino) of Sibulan, World Boxing Organization (WBO) world no. 1 flyweight contender Milan “Metodico” Melindo, and 2 division world champ Donnie “Ahas” Nietes of Murcia among others. Cervania has currently a perfect record of 19-0- (9 KO). When asked what are his strengths as a boxer, he said his focus and speed although he revealed that he is currently working on his power. He has a 47.39% KO percentage. Cervania is an orthodox fighter who can easily adapt to an orthodox or southpaw opponent. His biggest exploits, like Pacquaio, were against Mexicans: Gerson Guerrero, Marcos Cardenas, Genaro “Poblanito” Garcia, and Jorge Pazos. Cervania passed his first major test in the person of veteran Gerson Guerrero, who had previously fought champions Daniel Ponce De Leon and Christian Mijares. He gave then undefeated Marcos Cardenas his first loss; Cardenas had knocked down 9 of his 12 previous opponents within 4 rounds. Cervania caught former 3 time world title challenger Genaro “Poblanito” Garcia with a well placed uppercut to the chin and followed it up with a flurry of punches, sending the Mexican to the canvass. Garcia stood back up but wasn’t able to reverse the table on Cervania. Cervania defeated Garcia via 12th round TKO and won the vacant WBC international silver super bantamweight crown on June 2, 2012 in Manila. Garcia had previously fought world champions Hozumi Hasegawa, Tokashi Nishioka, Luis Alberto Perez, and Wilfredo Vasquez, Jr. and defeated hall of fame bound Rafael Marquez. Cervania’s lastest career win was against Jorge Pazos, 20-3 (13 KO) before the fight, during Pinoy Pride XV: Philippines vs Mexico, The Rematch by ALA Promotions and ABS CBN Sports last August 18, 2012 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel Casino, Cebu. He dropped the Mexican thrice and beat him via unanimous decision in 12 rounds and snatched the WBO Asia Pacific super bantamweight crown. When asked who is/are his favorite boxer(s), Cervania, who stands 5' 6½, answered without hesitation: Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire, another Filipino boxer who is a multiple division world champion. Both boxers have inspired him to work harder to attain his goal of becoming world champion in the next five years or less. Cervania had been told that his next fight will be in October but this may be moved as there are plans for him to travel to the US to train there. Cervania’s advice to aspiring boxers is to have discipline focus, and dedication. Parents’ support is also very important. With the Filipinos’ love of boxing, Cervania can be sure that the nation will be with him as he reaches for his dream to become among the great world champions from the Pearl of the Orient Seas.

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