The future for the Philippine boxing scene remains bright despite the retirement of legendary fighter Manny Pacquiao, who at 42 years old had a swan song to remember against former Olympian Yordenis Ugas last Aug. 21.

Nonito Donaire, Manny Pacquiao, Mark Magsayo (AFP and PBC)

Though a defeat wasn’t the result he was expecting for his retirement match, Pacquiao showed grit and tenacity against Ugas in their 12-round bout at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ending his career with 62-8-2 win-loss-draw record, not only boxing fans but almost every athlete from each sport gave salutations to the boxer-turned-senator, who decided to take his political ambitions to a higher level by running for presidency in the upcoming May 2022 elections.

Sans Pacquiao, enter the names such as Nonito Donaire and Mark Magsayo, who in return gave reminders that the country’s boxing scene is still alive and kicking.

Donaire, a four-division world champion, earned the Comeback of the Year award from the World Boxing Council after back-to-back wins in 2021, a year where the sporting world just started recovering and thriving from the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ: WBC honors Donaire, Magsayo in ‘Best of 2021’ list

The 39-year-old Donaire captured the WBC bantamweight belt after knocking out Nordine Oubaali last May and followed up his outstanding performance with another fourth-round KO win against compatriot and then undefeated youngster Reymart Gaballo more than two weeks ago.

Then there’s also Magsayo, considered as one of Pacquiao’s proteges, who made heads turn when he also stopped American fighter Pablo Cruz in April and Mexican Julio Ceja in August.

Magsayo, experiencing the same training from Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, not only won the Prospect of the Year award from the WBC but also the Premier Boxing Champion’s Knockout of the Year honor.

The 26-year-old Tagbilaran, Bohol native boxer showcased his powerful hooks and landed hefty right hands twice to Ceja, sending the Mexican out cold on the floor in the same arena and event where Pacquiao had his swan song.

Magsayo eventually won the WBO International featherweight title and earned the rights to face WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. on Jan. 22 in New Jersey next year.

On local shore, super bantamweight rising star-turned-champion Carl Jammes Martin remained unbeaten in 18 matches with 15 KOs after dethroning Mark Anthony Geraldo for the national title last Dec. 4.

The win served as Martin’s way for recognition overseas and come up with matches from world-sanctioning bodies such as the WBA, WBO, WBC, and IBF.

In the amateur scene, three Filipino shone brightly in the prestigious Tokyo Olympics as Nesthy Petecio (women’s featherweight) and Carlo Paalam (men’s flyweight) took home silver medals for the Philippines while Marcial (middleweight), who already had his first win as a professional boxer, settled for bronze.

The boxing trio contributed greatly to what was deemed as the Philippines’ best showing in the Olympics since participating in 1924.

Source: Manila Bulletin (