Former pro boxer holds free sparring sessions
Two-time Philippine former Junior Welterweight champion Timothy “8 Rounders” Manzano is offering free boxing training sessions for all local boxers who want to gain more skills.
In partnership with the Department of Youth & Women’s Affairs (DYWA), Manzano is using the ring set up by DYWA to do his free training sessions every day for two hours, as part of the DYWA’s current program to promote fitness and to offer free sports programs for all the sports federations on island.
Speaking to Samoa News, DYWA Sports Commissioner Ethan Lake said that this program is not just about boxing, but it’s open to all sports federations on island — they’ve already invited all federations to collaborate with them and to bring in some programs for their sports.
“The door is open to everyone, not just federations but who ever comes in will get the chance to join the program,” Lake told Samoa News.
With not enough staff in the Sports Division to coordinate all sports programs for everyone, Lake is asking for anybody who wants to offer his or her program to please notify them so that they can arrange a time to work together.
Manzano is a 54-year old father of two who told Samoa News that he’s not doing this service to earn anything for him and his family, but he’s doing it for free to help the youth to get involved in sports activities and to promote health fitness in American Samoa.
“This is about your health and if you train yourself everyday by moving your body, not only are you losing weight but at the same time you’re adding more days to your life,” said Manzano with a smile on his face.
A fighter back in his home country for over 7 years and winning the Junior Welterweight title twice, Manzano said that it was his desire to offer his help to anybody in American Samoa who wants to learn about boxing.
“When I just came to American Samoa in 2005, boxing was the only sport that I loved to watch, and every time I watched boxing during the Flag Day tournament and many other times, it always brings me the desire to give something to the youth of American Samoa, and that’s why I’m offering this free training session, for anybody who wants to learn the sport and for those who want to get fit,” said Manzano.
According to the Philippines boxing records, Manzano was a professional boxer from 1976 up until 1983. He first became a champion in 1981 and then again in 1983, the same year he retired.
King of the Rock promoter Zena Iese said that with his skills and knowledge about boxing, Manzano’s service will benefit a lot of old and new boxers on island, and it will help them prepare for the next level.
“This is not about training for boxing matches, this is about sparring sessions for anybody who wants to box or to get fit, so in other words, this is the right program for everyone to come and join, but for our boxers who want to gain more skills, this will be a good chance for them to get well prepared for any international competition,” said Iese.
While the King of the Rock Championship first round is over and all boxers that won their fights are ranked #1, Iese said that one of the reasons behind Manzano’s free training session is to determine the overall ranking for all boxers on island in every weight class, so that each boxer knows exactly what his or her rank is.
“So if the boxer that ranks #8 and wants to challenge the champion for the title, he/she has to fight the boxer that is (one rank) ahead of them so they can earn the chance to fight for the title, and that’s how this program flows — it's all about creating the right ranking for our boxers,” explained Iese.
Being a promoter and a coach for the Wrestling Federation, Iese said he really wants the youth to succeed in what they’re doing, no matter what sport, he wants to see them to fulfill their dreams.
“This is all about decision making, whether you want to play volleyball, wrestling, boxing or whatever sport you’re good at, all I want to see if for our young people to succeed in life and have a future in sports,” the former wrestler explained.
Speaking about the successful outcome the first titles championship in American and the positive feedback from parents, fans and even government leaders to continue on with the program, Iese believes that this is the right path for our local boxers to get to an international level tournament like the Oceania Championships, World Boxing Championship, Olympics, or even to turn to professional boxing.
Asking about Sui Palauni’s (who is the current middleweight champion from the King of the Rock Championships) decision to turn pro next April, Iese said that he respects Palauni’s decision.
“Good for him”, said Iese about Palauni’s decision, “and this is what I want, I want boxers like Palauni to move to the top level of their career, as long as they believe that they’re fully prepared to move to the next level, then it’s good for me”.
In conclusion, Iese congratulated Palauni for his upcoming professional debut in April and wishes him all the best in his career.