BOXERS and trainers of the fabled ALA Gym consider each other not only as peers and stable mates, but also as family because not only are they trained to be good boxers but they are taught to treat each other as brothers.

When Z Gorres went under the knife for an injury that ended his boxing career, everyone was devastated. Yesterday, their fallen comrade, the boxer they call “Butchoy” returned home after a battle to live —it became an emotional reunion for the ALA boys.

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“I want to cry but at the same time I’m excited because I really want to see Butchoy. I’m very happy that he is better and he is back,” said up-and-coming star AJ Banal, who admitted he had mixed emotions after being reunited with his fellow ALA fighter and friend, yesterday at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

Gorres, 27, stayed in the US for three months, recovering from a career-ending head injury after a mishap in his fight with Luis Melendez last Nov. 13 in Las Vegas.

“I’m so happy because he is okay but I can’t help but cry because it is so sad to see him like this,” said World Boxing Organization mini-flyweight champion Donnie Nietes, who fought alongside Gorres, in Mexico last year. “I want his condition to be normal again even if he can’t box anymore,” added the soft-spoken fighter.

Gorres has been undergoing physical rehabilitation on his weakened left arm and leg under the supervision of his physician, Dr. Benito Calderon.

ALA fighters Milan Melindo, Michael Domingo, James Bacon, Jason Pagara and trainers Edito and Edmund Villamor, along with a couple of other fighters and trainers, were also at the airport to welcome Gorres.

Gorres’ longtime trainer Edito, who was in Gorres’ corner on that dreadful night when was he suffered a subdural hematoma on the right side of his brain, is relieved that his ward is back home in one piece.

“I’m very happy that he is back with his family as Z Gorres.

This is an emotional moment for me,” said Edito, one of the original ALA boys who donned the trademark black ALA trunks in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Although Edito started as Gorres’s trainer in March 31, 2001 when Gorres became a professional fighter, their bond started way back when the then younger Gorres used to lace Edito’s boots and gloves when he was still boxing.

“When I was still a boxer, he (Gorres) always tagged along. He was only nine years old at that time,” reminisced the head trainer of the ALA Gym.

When Gorres’ normal bodily functions return, he wants to become a trainer in the ALA Gym like his trainer and friend, Edito.