FORMER International Boxing Federation mini-flyweight champion Florante Condes, Jr. has always followed in the footsteps of his ring idol Manny Pacquiao.
Condes is an exciting aggressive left-handed fighter with frightening knockout power like Pacquiao. Condes also won a world title making his Filipino countrymen proud like Pacquiao.
Like Pacquiao, Condes was born and raised in a remote province of the Philippines. Condes was born to a poor family in Looc, Romblon. Like Pacquiao he turned to boxing to escape poverty. Because of these similarities and his short stature (he is only 5’2”) fans call him “Little Pacquiao.”
Like Pacquiao, who lost back-to-back fights, Condes fell on hard times. But more importantly, again just like Pacquiao, Condes returned with a bang winning his last bout by first round knockout stopping Charlie Cabilla in a bout promoted by Jaro International Boxing Promotion.
Condes wants to become relevant again in international boxing and hopes his victory speeds him on the way. He plans to fight again in March and hopes to have a shot at the IBF world title said his manager/promoter Aljoe Jaro.
Condes turned professional in 2002. He won the IBF minimumweight title by a split decision victory over Muhammad Rachman on July 7, 2007. Despite the close call Condes was clearly dominant and knocked Rachman down twice, once in the third round and again in the 10th.
Salven Lagumbay of the Philippines and Montol Suriyachand of Thailand, scored it 114-112 for Condes. The Indonesian judge Muhammad Rois, unsurprisingly, gave Rachman a 114-112 victory. The bout was held in the studio of the private RCTI television station in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Condes gained international fame when he cracked the prestigious Ring Magazine rankings on July 9. The bible of boxing put Condes at third spot in the straw weight division (105 lbs).
Almost a year later, after 11 months and 6 days of inactivity, Condes defended his title against undefeated Mexican Raul Garcia (23-0-1) in La Paz, Mexico. Condes lost via twelve-round split decision despite scoring a knockdown in the final round.
He attempted to gain another shot at the title he lost to Garcia by facing Nkosinathi Joyi in an eliminator bout on June 26, 2009. Following a knockdown in the 11th round Condes lost the match by unanimous decision.
In all, Condes lost three consecutive bouts and did not fight again until he crossed paths with manager/promoter Aljoe Jaro who took him under his wing.
Meanwhile, former amateur boxing standouts Neil John Tabanao and Joey Canoy turned in impressive performances as young professional boxers.
Tabanao knocked out Warren Mambuanag in the third round. Tabanao relied on his speed and strength to overwhelm the game but outclassed Mambuanag. Canoy and veteran slugger Felipe Cagubcog, Jr., trading haymakers from start of the bout to the finish, fought to a draw.
The Panabo City native Tabanao has been nothing short of spectacular. In his pro debut in Iligan City September 25 two years ago he stopped Roland Magluyan with a body shot in the opening round.
Tabanao was a former member of the PH national boxing team. He has won several medals in different national championships, including gold in Iloilo and Puerto Princesa and the silver at the prestigious 2011 PLDT-ABAP National Championships in Cagayan de Oro City.
Canoy, originally from the boxing-crazy city of General Santos made his pro debut on December 2 against Gary Rojo also two years ago. He has won several medals in national amateur championships. He won a gold medal in the Philippine National Games in Manila two years ago representing powerhouse Panabo City. That feat impressed national team coaches. Canoy was invited to join the national training pool in Baguio City but opted to turn pro instead.