TO say that the local boxing scene has never been quite the same since ALA Boxing Promotions and ALA Gym closed shop would be a massive understatement.

This pandemic has produced quite a number of casualties and local boxing has been dealt quite a concussive blow, pardon the pun.

VILLAMOR. But the world has to move forward and so must we. ALA Boxing’s eminent trainer, the well-known and well-liked Edito Villamor along with his brother Edmond has opened the Villamor Brothers Gym as a way of continuing the legacy and rich boxing pedigree of ALA Boxing.

Coach Edito in his attempt to broaden his audience is now quite a social media personality. You can find him on YouTube and on Twitter as well, where he features local fighters working with him.

When he was in his prime, he was quick-fisted and readily inclined to land a one-two combo on a day dreaming opponent. Nowadays, it’s his quick wit and charming smile that disarms you.

Lately, his smile has beamed even wider now that he is set to release to the pro ranks one of the wards he has been mentoring, Christian Balunan.

BALUNAN. As an amateur, this 19-year-old kid compiled a record of 106-16.

Reached by this writer on why he chose boxing, he replied that he is following in the footsteps of his father, Olipio, who fought six-round fights as a pro.

Now, boxing is replete with stories from fighters who come from humble backgrounds, but what I liked about this young man was his answer when I asked him what he had learned working with the Villamor brothers. I was impressed when he said he learned the value of hard work and having proper manners.

Long ago, even before I became a columnist for SunStar Cebu I read an article somewhere about Edito Villamor sharing to the world how Antonio L. Aldeguer not only taught him about boxing, but also taught him first how to be a better person.

Stories like that are a rarity nowadays where the current emphasis seems to be on the opposite—trying to become as tough and rough as you can be so you will be ready for the fight game.

In the process, you are allowed to be as obnoxious as you want to, because that will sell fights.

It’s like a jungle out there, with celebrities even trying to get into the fight game complete with all the gimmickry and trash-talking just for the hype.

Balunan still has to take that first big step—become a pro-fighter. But this early, in terms of attitude, I like what I see.

I wish him all the best as he makes his debut this Friday in Dauis Gym in Bohol for “Kumong Bol-anon 2.”

LAST ROUND. It’s on Pureza “Ampog” Mangubat, who recently celebrated her birthday. Cheers!