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Boxing in the Philippines

Gloves to fill: Filipino fighters punching for boxing glory

Undoubtedly, one of the sports that put the Philippines on the map is boxing. In many of the greatest-boxers-of-all-time lists, Manny Pacquiao stands among legends, and as the only eight-division world champion, he is as rare an athlete as they come. 

But not only did Pacquiao make a name for our country, but he also made us feel proud to be Filipino. For every fight, the streets would go silent, but in every bar, club, or restaurant, the cheers were almost deafening. You can’t say that watching him take title after title didn’t tug on your heartstrings at least a little bit. 

The southpaw is arguably the Philippines’ greatest athlete. But our country kept our boxing presence alive even after his final fight.

Medals
The Philippines' boxing medals and titles from 2012 to 2022.

The Philippines has guarded its place in the ring, especially in the region. Competing in the Southeast Asian Games, our boxers have consistently been finishing within the top three for boxing overall through the last ten years, always bringing home at least five medals. 

Our titles and medals go past the continent’s borders too. In the 2020 Summer Olympics, the Philippines recorded its biggest haul, with our boxers accounting for three out of our four total medals. 

Watching our fighters, Eumir Marcial, Carlo Paalam, and Nesthy Petecio being crowned at their podium ceremonies brought back the same emotions as watching Pacquiao’s victorious fights. 

On the amateur-fighting level, there is already much the Philippines can rave about. And on a professional level, you can bet that Filipino boxers are just as competitive.

Belts

We’ve seen many fighters trying to land their shots on the professional stage over the last few years. And currently, we have two title-holders with impressive records themselves. 

Nonito Donaire currently holds the WBC bantamweight title. Not only was he the oldest boxer to ever become champion in this weight class, but he also has world championships in three other weight classes. With his quick hands (he’s nicknamed the Filipino Flash for a reason), he’s snatched nine world titles.

Although he may have lost his recent fight against Naoya Inoue, Donaire still remains one of the Philippines’ highly successful fighters.

One of our fighters also holds the world title in the featherweight class: Mark Magsayo. Out of his 24 professional fights, to this date, he remains undefeated—a record fitting to a fighter nicknamed Magnifico. He earned his featherweight title just last May. 

In comparison to older fighters like Donaire and Pacquiao, Magsayo still has many bouts left in him. Yet, he’s already proven his skill in the ring. Lucky for us, there’s still a lot more to look forward to. 

What’s next?

If you just missed Donaire’s fight last June 7 and you miss the feeling of watching a good fight, we’ve got some good news for you.

Our WBC featherweight title-holder Mark Magsayo is fighting against Rey Vargas on July 9. This will be his first attempt at defending his title. 

Although the public’s consciousness about boxing may have dwindled ever since Pacquiao began falling off the peak of his athletic career, boxing remains alive and well under our flag. And with our title-holders and medal-bearers, the level of competition stays high.