Sun.Star Baguio

Highland boxers take odd job at trading post

- Roderick Osis

WITH MORE than eight months of being sidelined as a boxer, former Orient Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) champion Jelbirt Gomera has found a new job just to earn a living.

Gomera, together with three other profession­al boxers of the Highland Boxing Gym are now trying to make ends meet by being porters at the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post.

“Pag sinwerte tatlong loads, pero ngayon at marami na naming kargador, isa na lang,” said Gomera, who fought Ireland’s top boxer, Ryan Burnett, last year.

Brico Santig, who owns the Highland Boxing Gym said his four boxers earn at least P1,000 depending on the volume of vegetables they load for Manila – bound trucks.

“They make 350 – P1,100 a day by filling up Manila- bound trucks with vegeta

bles,” said Santig of his four remaining boxers who now call his gym home.

Also working as porters now are MJ Uduna, Ador Torres, and Louie Jorda, Vincent Jorda son of Brico’s most trusted and accomplish­ed trainer/ coach – Joven Jorda.

“Since there are no fights since March, then our boxers, who are still with me, need to make a living,” said Santig, whose four was live the gym early morning and come back at around five in the afternoon and call it a day.

Santig returned home to the Valley in August after he gave up his apartment in Manila to reduce expenses with the continued lockdown. He has since then closed his Manila gym. Santig also maintains a gym in Bangkok, Thailand where his family resides.

The Highland top honcho has practicall­y adopted the four boxers since the coronaviru­s disease (Covid-19) pandemic last March.

“I had to ask all my boxers to go home. I had them plane to the Visayas or Mindanao before the enhanced community quarantine was declared in Luzon. Kahit mahal ang ticket, pikit mata na lang, kesa ma-stuck sila dito,” explained Santig.

From the 28 he used to house at his four story- residence turned gym, turned office, now only four other boxers remain. Former kickboxing trainer Manny Sanidad was one of his in- house trainers prior to the latter’s demise last October due to stroke.

“I do hope that there will be a second round of help from the Singwangch­a Foundation. That could help our boxers and also other fighters [ Muay Thai, kickboxing],” added Santig, who last September distribute­d groceries to fighters rendered jobless due to the pandemic courtesy of the foundation.

Santig had a good year last year when he was able to use the Manila Arena for his 2 consecutiv­e Internatio­nal Title fights and the Philippine Amusement Games Corporatio­n, the Games and Amusement Board, and Naris Singwangch­a as sponsor.

He was also able to send Gomera to Ireland to fight Burnett, who earlier lost to Nonito Donaire in the World Series.

He was also named last year’s top promoter by WBC Asia.

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 ?? Contribute­d photo ?? ODD JOB. Former Orient Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) champion Jelbirt Gomera found a new way to earn a living as a porter at the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post after being sidelined for more than eight months boxers since the coronaviru­s disease (Covid-19) pandemic last March.
Contribute­d photo ODD JOB. Former Orient Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) champion Jelbirt Gomera found a new way to earn a living as a porter at the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post after being sidelined for more than eight months boxers since the coronaviru­s disease (Covid-19) pandemic last March.

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