<
>

Young boxer who won gold at Arafura Games among ABAP's top prospects

The future remains bright for Philippine amateur boxing not only because the of wealth of talent currently on the roster of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) but also because of their deep pipeline filled with youngsters who are willing and able to be part of the national pool someday.

Just recently, a youngster represented the Philippines by winning the gold medal of the men's flyweight division at the Arafura Games held in Darwin, Australia. John Ignatuis Macas, a native of Cagayan De Oro, defeated Ivan Pavich of New Zealand to claim the top spot.

The Arafura Games were founded back in 1991 with 1,500 athletes competing in seven sports. After an eight-year hiatus, the Norther Territory Government of Australia brought it back to share sporting and cultural knowledge within the Asia-Pacific region.

Macas prepared for the Arafura Games for a month in Baguio City where he trained alongside national team members at the Shape-Up Boxing Gym.

"Being able to train with national team members helped me develop my skills and more importantly gave me a lot of confidence," said Macas in Filipino. "I got to spar with boxers who already fought in the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games, and the Olympics so I knew I had an advantage against opponents my age."

Two of the boxers that Macas sparred with were 2018 Asian Games bronze medalist Carlo Paalam and 2016 Olympian Rogen Ladon.

Macas, who also topped the 2018 Philippine National Games and 2018 PSC-Manny Pacquiao Boxing Cup, is only 19 years old, but it is imperative for the country to find and develop young talent. Luckily for him, he is part the Cagayan De Oro Boxing Center that has already produced talents such as the aforementioned Paalam, along with professional boxers Milan Melindo and brothers Jason and Prince Albert Pagara.

"It took Macas a while before he really got going in the sport," said his coach Elmer Pamisa. "There were a lot of good fighters in his weight division but he really worked hard. He knows that if he does not succeed in boxing, he'll be toiling in the fields."

"The CDO boxing team is one of CDO's successful programs producing national and international boxing champions for the past several years. While John Macas' victory is a testament to this program's success, it is also a testament to our boxers' hard work and dedication," said CDO Mayor Oca Moreno.

"It hasn't been an easy road for us and we've faced several challenges along the way. Our partnership with MVP Sports Foundation has been a tremendous help for our kids and boxing program. This also shows that with a sincere collaboration between the public and private sectors, we can do great things. I would like to thank MVPSF for not only recognizing talent but also for taking positive steps towards extending assistance and making these kids' dreams a reality."

The MVPSF donated boxing and training equipment worth 1 million pesos to the CDO Boxing Center to help them maximize the potential of the talents they have.

"The MVPSF recognizes the importance of developing talent. John Macas' victory is a testament that through a strong collaboration between the local government unit and national sports association plus the unwavering support of MVPSF, we can win a gold medal," said MVPSF President Al Panlilio.

"We are elated to see our vision become a reality. Through the efforts of Mayor Oca Moreno of Cagayan de Oro and ABAP, we are confident that we will produce the next generation champions in boxing. It was an opportunity for the Foundation to ensure that feeders of talent to the national team are recognized and given assistance to further improve their skills. MVPSF will not slow down on our support. We will continue until we achieve our goal of winning the elusive boxing gold medal in the Olympics."