Tragedy won’t deter Paradero

SPORTING CHANCEJoaquin M. Henson – The Philippine Star

November 28, 2021 | 12:00am

Robert Paradero suffered a family tragedy last Wednesday when his father Federico died of complications from pneumonia. Paradero was scheduled to leave his Malaybalay, Bukidnon, hometown for Manila the next day then take off for Thailand on Dec. 1 to keep his appointment with super WBA minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart in Phuket on Dec. 14. He’ll now depart for Manila tomorrow after his father’s funeral.

Paradero, the youngest of five, said his father’s death was a bitter blow. He posted pictures of himself holding his WBO Asia Pacific Youth minimumweight title belt beside his father’s coffin during the wake yesterday. “Komplikado ang sakit niya, walang gana kumain,” said Paradero. “Ang sakit sa akin. Kunan ko lakas kay Papa sa laban at dalhin ko sa puntod niya ang world cham-pionship. Ang Papa ko, pangarap niya ay maging world champion ako at makilala ako sa buong mundo.”

Paradero said he’ll dedicate the fight to his father and win the title for him. His father was 76 and left behind his wife Rosalita, 67. “Mga magulang ko ang nag-udyok sa akin mag-boksing,” he said.

“Ang Papa ko, dati taga-akyat ng punong niyog.  Ang Mama ko, taga-tulong sa kaniya at taga-luto ng pagkain para ibenta. Mahiap lang kami. Ang asawa ng kapatid kong babae ay dating boksingero, si Wing Florida, at siya ang nagturo sa akin mag-boksing.” Paradero was only nine when he put on his first pair of gloves.

“Ang sakit ng mga pagsubok dinaanan ko,” said Paradero. His manager Dr. Toto Sajulga said now more than ever, the challenger will be motivated to bring home the championship. Last Febru-ary, Paradero took on Vic Saludar for the vacant regular WBA 105-pound title in Biñan and lost by a split decision. Paradero could’ve won but got cocky in the homestretch, knowing he was ahead on points and gave Saludar the opportunity to steal the verdict in the late rounds. Dr. Sajulga said Paradero learned his lesson and won’t make the same mistake again. Against Fresh-mart, Dr. Sajulga said Paradero will be more than ready to dethrone the champion who’s making his 10th title defense.

Paradero said he knows it will take a knockout to wrest the crown from Freshmart because winning on points is almost an impossible dream. Freshmart is a national hero in Thailand and even as the judges will come from neutral countries, the hometown factor is critical. Since the loss to Saludar, Paradero has been waiting for a second chance to win a world crown. A June 27 fight against Thembelani Okono for the vacant WBF minimumweight throne in South Africa was aborted and a plan to campaign in the US never got off the ground. Then came the chance to face Freshmart and Paradero said he won’t blow this shot, vowing to shock the world in making his father’s dream come true.