Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Fist From Mindoro
I suddenly felt upset when I saw the legendary Pedro Adigue, Jr. at the opponent’s corner that night. The former World Boxing Council (WBC) Light Welterweight Champion perhaps took a break from the movies and came to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. The older Adigue, who defeated Adolph Pruitt in 1968, was here that time to support his nephew and protégée Chito Adigue. The old Pedro presumably taught this young relative of his everything from the books on punching and footwork. But the Joe Francisco-Chito Adigue match at San Jose Municipal Gymnasium that night of May 16, 1981 was a non title fight. Diomedes “Joe” Francisco from Brgy. Batasan, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro was then a ring sensation in Philippine Boxing scene. He was our local hero.
The younger Adigue’s killer left hook,- which was actually a lucky punch, landed on his jaw on the 6th round of the bout ended not only the career of Francisco but our high hopes to see our very own fighter climb up the ring for a world championship fight. The Adigue’s uncle- and- nephew tandem shattered all our dreams. Our hero was even mauled in front of his province mates. His home court advantage suddenly turned into nightmare. We have cursed then his manager, the referee, the promoters and practically everyone behind that heartbreaking non-title fight. That fight,- for many of us, was just a “money making” thing. Seeing our hero kneeled on the canvass while pain was written all over his face made us cry, almost. A sorry event that is not easy to forget until now.
But to close the career of our local boxing legend, here’s his stats after his retirement in 1982: a total of 26 fights; 23 wins; 1 draw; 2 losses. Francisco was the #1 Philippine Junior Featherweight contender and #3 in the OPBF or the Orient Pacific Boxing Federation that time. Francisco, now an officer of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and residing in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro with his wife, the former Loyalyn “Bing Bing” Hilario, with their three young boys that are all budding boxers. A fighter's blood still flows in Joe’s veins.
Exactly 27 years ago have passed and the legend continues…
From Joe Francisco, the father,- let us go to Drian Francisco, the son. On April 19, 2009 at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Philippines he won against Indonesian Sharil Fabanyo via 2nd round knock out. The fight was an undercard in the Nonito Donaire - Raul Martinez fight dubbed as "The Fast and the Furious", a joint promotion of Top Rank and Solar Sports. Drian (formerly known as Jong Francisco) is undefeated in 16 bouts and ranked number 10 by both World Boxing Association (WBA) for International Super Flyweight and Flyweight for the World Boxing Organization (WBO). His father's town mates have witnessed the power and authority of Drian Francisco's fists last March 22, 2007 at the Mayor Juan G. Santos Memorial Gymnasium in San Jose when he KOed Deeden Sithsaithong from Thailand.
Everybody in the Philippine boxing scene are hoping that on July 19, 2009, Drian will be facing Rafael “El Torito” Concepcion. Concepcion won the WBA Interim Super Flyweight world title last September in Cebu City by upsetting the highly favored AJ “Bazooka” Banal by spectacular 10th round knockout.
For us, Francisco is the “Mindorenyong Kamao” (Fist from Mindoro), a moniker given to him by Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) South Luzon Bureau correspondent, Ms. Madonna Virola. The boxer from Sablayan is our new boxing idol. Not unlike his legendary father.
Keep on winnin', Kabayan!
(Photo and other reference courtesy of Bongbong Marquez' blog http://bantayngmindoro.blogspot.com)