Boxing in the Philippines
starts and ends with Manny Pacquiao. It's nearly impossible for
anyone else to get a look in but that doesn't mean there aren't other worthy Filipino
fighters. One boxer who has benefited from Pacquiao opening the doors in his
home country is Froilan Saludar. The 23-year-old campaigns in the relatively
hot flyweight division, especially hot in the Philippines (currently homing
unified champion Brian Viloria, former champion Sonny Boy
Jaro, grizzled veteran Rocky Fuentes and fellow up-and-comer Milan Melindo).
For the most part, Filipinos don't fight each other on the world stage but if
these guys continue progressing, they may not have that choice much longer. Saludar
is represented by renowned agent/advisor Sampson Lewkowicz (whose clients include
World Middleweight Champion Sergio Martinez, Chris John and Anselmo Moreno), who
speaks highly of the fighter nicknamed “The Sniper.” Says Lewkowicz, “Froilan
Saludar has very special talent and I have no doubt he will become a world champion. I am very proud to work with
him as well as my partner, Sammy Gello-ani.” Saludar boasts an impressive 16-0-1 (11) record and has won a slew of various WBO trinkets. He's ranked
in the top 10 by all four major sanctioning bodies (rated seven by the WBC,
four by the WBA, three by the IBF and two by the WBO) and recently broke
into The Ring magazine rankings, sitting 10th.
Wainwright - You scored a wide points win over Mexican fighter Jose Alfredo
Tirado in September. Can you tell us about the fight and how you thought you
Froilan Saludar - It was not an easy
fight because he is good boxer, a hard puncher and also, a very experienced
fighter. I got him with a good shot in the first and second round but he was
there, trying to counter me. In the third round, I tried to outbox him and just
confuse him and it seemed to work, so I continued to box him in the fourth round
and fifth and I hit him with a solid jab and straight right. I continued my
strategy until the last round. I think it was not my best performance.
AW - When are you looking at fighting next? What are your plans for next year?
FS - It depends on my promoters, Sampson
Lewkowicz and Sammy Gello-ani, on what they want me to do for my next fight and
for my plans for next year. I’m ready to fight whoever my next opponent is.
AW - Who are the key members of your team? Also where do you regularly train?
FS - My manager/trainer is Mr. Joven H. Jimenez; my promoters are Sampson Lewkowicz
and Sammy Gello-ani. My assistant trainer is Mr. Romeo Desabille Jr. and I
train at Top Contender Gym in Muntinlupa City, Philippines.
AW - Could you tell us about your training?
FS - I train early in the morning for my
cardiovascular and muscular endurance. In the afternoon, I train for my skills,
looking for new techniques and tactics, improving my punching power and I also
study from my previous fight.
AW - You were born in Polomolok, Cotabato del Sur, Philippines. Could you
tell us about your early years growing up? How did you become interested in
FS - When I was nine years old, my father told me and my brothers that he would
bring us to the nearby town to train for boxing. I told him that I didn’t want to
learn boxing because I didn’t want to fight somebody but my father insisted
that he could not send us to high school because he had no work to support us.
My brothers had their first amateur fights and they got money. So I told my
father I would box for the next schedule and after the fight, I told myself
that I would box again because I won and got money and that was the beginning
of my dream to become a world champion.
AW - What are your thoughts on the current flyweight world champions, the
WBC’s Toshiyuki Igarashi, the WBA/WBO champ Brian Viloria and the IBF champion
FS – As far as the current world champions,
they are some of the best fighters today. I will fight them or whoever I get an
opportunity to fight. They are my idols but I will fight them because it is the
only way to achieve my goals.
AW - There are many Filipinos doing well at flyweight including Sonny Boy Jaro
and Brian Viloria plus Rocky Fuentes and Milan Melindo. How competitive are you
guys and would you like to fight them?
FS - They are proven world-class
fighters but I will fight them if my promoters decide to make it happen. It
would depend on the plans of my promoters.
AW - Can you tell us a little about what
you like to do away from boxing? What are your hobbies and interests?
FS - I like to play basketball and watch
AW – Obviously, the biggest Filipino boxing icon is Manny Pacquiao, who has
opened so many doors for fighters in the Philippines. Could you tell us from
your point of view what sort of impact he’s had on you?
- Manny Pacquiao brought us Filipino fighters to the world of boxing. He opened
the door for me in many ways, such as international promoters and managers want
Filipino fighters for fights on the international level like in America and
AW - What are your goals in boxing?
FS - I want to become a world champion
someday and help my fellow fighters achieve their goals.
AW - Growing up, who was your boxing hero and why?
FS - My idols are Manny Pacquiao and
AW – Finally, do you have anything you'd
like to say to the flyweight division?
FS - I say to the flyweights, I will work
hard to achieve my goals and good luck to all you and God bless. Thank you very
much and more power to you.