EVERYBODY was talking about how skillful and poweful Junrel Jimenez was on his way to winning the gold medal for the Youth Boys Flyweight Division of the recently concluded PLDT-ABAP National Amateur Boxing Championships held in Digos City.
Jimenez pulled off the lone TKO victory in the gold medal round when he stopped Ryan Torres of San Fernando, La Union a minute and five seconds into in the second round.
His skills and talent did not go unnoticed and he is now on top of the list of recruits for the Philippine national team boxing pool.
Philippine team head coach Pat Gaspi and Cebuano olympian Ronald Chavez, who is in-charge of the youth pool, was very impressed with the performance of the freshman HRM student of Southwestern University.
“Dugay na namo na siya gipangayo. Wala pa man nisugot ang Cebu City. But he is one of our top priorities, if only ipadala lang nila si Jimenez sa national team, he could be the next boxing Olympian out of Cebu,” the 1992 Barcelona Olympics boxing campaigner told Sun.Star Cebu.
Although, the national coaches were also impressed by the performances of the other Cebuano gold medal winners –junior boys flyweight champion Kit Ceron Garces and youth boys bantamweight king Jorge Edusma—their focus is on Jimenez, who also stunned the crowd by the knockdown.
“If I was the referee of that bout, I would have stopped the fight after the mandatory eight count. It was clear that the La Union fighter was already gone, he was shaking,” referee/judge Michael Monton said.
Monton was one of the five judges scoring the bout.
Garces, who is also in the list of recruits, could be included in the Philippine team for the World Junior Championships next year, while Edusma and Jimenez will be included in the men’s elite team.
“If I could have it my way, I would give these boys to the Philippine team. Because the only way you can fight in the Olympics is to become a member of the Philippine team. But I could not commit them since the head of the Cebu City Sports Commission and the mayor himself have the right to decide to send them or not to the Abap pool,” Team Cebu City boxing head coach Efren Tabanas said.
Tabanas was a member of the Philipine boxing team to the 1984 LA Olympics.