The champ is here!
Newly-crowned International Boxing Organization flyweight champion Dave Apolinario made his way back home following his successful title conquest in East London, South Africa on Saturday (Philippine Time).
Apolinario arrived on Wednesday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 in Pasay, and he was met by his manager, Mike Pelayo, as well as officials from the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
Ermar Benitez, GAB’s officer-in-charge, and Jackie Ornido, the agency’s OIC for the contact sports division, handed a plaque of commendation to Apolinario upon his arrival for bringing glory to the country by capturing the title belt, when he defeated South African opponent Gideon Buthelezi via a first-round knockout on Saturday (Philippine Time).
“Super saya ko kasi malayo ng nilabanan natin–sa South Africa. Sobrang saya natin kasi kahit papaano, di naman natin pinapakialaman kahit malayo ang byahe. Ang importante, makuha natin yung belt (I’m super happy because I fought in a far place–South Africa. I’m very happy. I didn’t care how far I had to travel. The important thing is we get the belt),” Apolinario said.
“We are excited about Philippine professional boxing. Not only is it recovering from the effects of the pandemic, but it is also invigorated by the recent victories of our champions,” said Benitez, also citing Carl Jammes Martin’s successful defense of his World Boxing Association Asia super bantamweight title against Tanzanian Charles Tondo also on Saturday at SM City San Lazaro.
Apolinario, together with Benitez, Ornido, and officials from SanMan Promotions, will be paying a courtesy call to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Pelayo said Apolinario will also pay a visit to the Senate on Monday as he welcomes the Senate resolution commending him for his title conquest.
Pelayo added that Apolinario also rose in the world rankings of at least one other boxing organization, and now ranked number three in the 112-pound division by the World Boxing Association (WBA).
This means the 23-year-old undefeated champion from Sarangani could be primed for a unification bout against reigning WBA champ Artem Dalakian.
“Pwede, kahit si Edwards (Am okay with it even with [Sunny] Edwards) ,” said Apolinario, who is also currently ranked 10th by the International Boxing Federation.
“Any world champion. Kung sino gustong lumaban kay Dave Apolinario, let’s bring it on. Kasi si Dave, always born ready. Walang tago-tago, laban kung laban kung sino man sila (Whoever wants to fight with Dave Apolinario. Because Dave is always ready. No evading, ready to brawl whoever they are) ),” Pelayo added. (PNA)