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Once Marvelous, Marvin Sonsona bent on regaining lost glory

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by Dennis Principe

Marvelous Marvin Sonsona (left) together with Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga (center) and former two-time world title challenger AJ ‘Bazooka’ Banal during the annual Gabriel “Flash” Elorde Memorial Awards night at the Okada Hotel in Pasay City.

Marvelous Marvin Sonsona (left) together with Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga (center) and former two-time world title challenger AJ ‘Bazooka’ Banal during the annual Gabriel “Flash” Elorde Memorial Awards night at the Okada Hotel in Pasay City.

Attending what is considered as Philippine boxing’s conclave, former world super flyweight champion Marvin Sonsona was all set to reintroduce himself to the community and privately reveal his supposed anticipated comeback to friends and old acquaintances who attended the recent annual Gabriel Elorde awards night.

Dressed to the nines in arriving at the posh Okada Hotel in Pasay City, Sonsona mentioned his name to two ladies assigned to check attendees at the main door of the hotel’s Ballroom area.

“Sir, wala pangalan ninyo dito, sorry hindi kayo pwede pumasok,” said one of the ladies.

Surprised that his name is not on the official list, Sonsona insisted he deserves to be inside the event.

“Dati akong world champion ha? Dapat andiyan pangalan ko” said Sonsona.

Luckily for Sonsona, he is now under the care of manager and trainer Joven Jimenez, the same handler of Philippine boxing’s emerging star and defending IBF world super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas who was a major awardee that night.

“Ako na ang nagpapasok sa kaniya pero sa totoo lang, maganda na nangyari sa kaniya yun,” said Jimenez who attended the event together with Ancajas “Sabi ko sa kaniya challenge sa kaniya yun kasi parang nakalimutan na siya ng tao. Nasa sa kaniya na yun kung pagbubutihin niya sa ensayo para makabalik sa dati niyang estado.”

Back in September 2009, Sonsona made an impact in Philippine boxing when at age 19, he became the second youngest Filipino world boxing champion by defeating Puerto Rican Jose ‘Carita’ Lopez via 12-round decision in their battle for the vacant WBO 115lb crown in Canada.

While he considers it as a blessing, Sonsona believes his victory over Lopez was the one that led to his eventual downfall as he felt he was not matured enough to handle success at that time.

“Totoo yun, mas maraming hindi magandang nangyari kaysa sa maganda, kasi yun nga isip bata pa ako, kasi mahilig na ako sa party, ganun,” admits Sonsona. “Ang pagkakamali ko kasi hindi ko napaghandaan na ganun pala mangyayari. Pero ngayon dalawa na anak ko, ibibigay ko na talaga 100% ko sa mga laban ko.”

As one of the supposed forgotten boxers wanting to prove their worth by undergoing rigorous training at Jimenez’ Survival Camp in Magallanes, Cavite, Sonsona has so far impressed his new trainer two weeks after entering the camp.

“Kahit may sarili siyang kwarto sinabi ko sa kaniya na mas maganda siya na muna mag-isa dun. Pina-uwi niya muna asawa niya kasi gusto niya daw mag-focus,” said Jimenez “Sumasabay siya sa mga boxers, kaniya-kaniyang linis. Kaniya-kaniyang asikaso sa kailangan nila.”

Among those part of Jimenez’ unique gym are former two-time world title challenger AJ ‘Bazooka’ Banal, lightweight prospect Rosekie Cristobal and Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga who, like Sonsona, are out to prove something to their doubters.

Turning 28 on July 25, Sonsona is set to make his ring return next month, two years and 11 months since his last fight, a 10-round majority decision win over journeyman Jonathan Arellano at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

It would only be his 24th pro fight where he won 21 of them, 15 via stoppage, lost once and drew once.

“Sa 140 (super lightweight) muna ako lalaban hanggang sa makuha ko yung ideal weight ko talaga na 130lbs,” said Sonsona. “Matagal ako nawala kasi premature yung baby ko kaya nagtulong muna kami mag-asawa na alagaan yung bata.”

Jimenez is eyeing a fighter from Thailand for Sonsona’s comeback fight which will happen during his May 13 promotion headlined by Barriga against Colombian Gabriel Mendoza who will battle in a 12-round world minimumweight title eliminator set at the Skydome inside SM North in EDSA, Quezon City.

At the moment, Sonsona wants to take it one fight at the time as at age 28, time seems to be on his side.

“Walang ibang dahilan kung bakit ako nawala kungdi yung sitwasyon lang ng anak ko,” insists Sonsona. “Maski sa GenSan, kahit ipagtanong ninyo, hindi Jako nagyabang. Wala silang Masama na masasabi sa akin.”

Jimenez meanwhile believes it will only take a few fights, provided he gives his all in training before Sonsona gets back to the top.

“Kung magseryoso siya sa ensayo, dalawa o tatlong laban lang pwede na yan sa world title,” said Jimenez “Hindi na kailangan ng maraming tune-up kasi dati na siyang world champion.”

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