MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will be the guest of honor and speaker during the 14th Gabriel “Flash” Elorde Memorial Awards and Banquet of Champions which will honor the country’s world, international and Philippine champions in formal rites at the Harbour Garden Tent of Sofitel Hotel on March 25.
Marcos will address Class of 2013, headed by top boxers super bantamweight champ Nonito Donaire, WBO light flyweight champion Donnie Nietes, IBF light flyweight titleholder Johnriel Casimero and WBO minimum weight king Merlito Sabillo in elaborate ceremonies to be held in memory of the late Filipino champ and International Hall of Fame honoree Gabriel “Flash” Elorde.
Manny Pacquiao, the first to be enshrined in the Elorde Hall of Fame following his seven titles in seven divisions in 2009, will be honored in absentia as he prepares for his bout with Timothy Bradley on April 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Also taking center stage are 41 international champions in the minimum weight (3), light flyweight (5), flyweight (6), super flyweight (4), bantamweight (6), super bantamweight (6), featherweight (3), super featherweight (2), lightweight (2), super lightweight (3), and light middleweight (1) and 11 Philippine champions from straw (minimum) weight to welterweight.
To be given citations during the formal ceremonies held in celebration of the 79th birth anniversary of Elorde, undefeated world junior lightweight champion from 1960-67, are Bruce McTavish (international referee) and the late WBC president Jose Sulaiman and boxing promoter Ramon “Moy” Lainez (posthumous).
The top honorees are Michael Aldeguer (best promoter), Silvestre Abainza (best referee), Danrex Tapdasan (best judge) and Edmund Villamor (best trainer).
The OPBF superflyweight championship bout between Arthur Villanueva and Marco Demencillo on April 20, 2013 will be cited as the best fight of the year, while Genesis Servania, the WBO Asia-Pacific/WBO international super bantamweight champion, will receive a special award as most promising boxer.
In the amateur division, the awardees are Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Josie Gabuco and World Series boxing champion Mark Anthony Barriga.
Others to be cited are Leon Panoncillo (WBO vice president), Naris Singwangcha (boxing promoter), Young Frisco (former boxing champion), Salven Laguman (boxing judge), Cobra Energy Drink, Contour Splinting Services, Rotary Club of Manila 101 and Sofitel Hotel.
Laura Elorde, wife of The Flash, will present the awards in behalf of the Elorde Family.
The event, staged by the Johnny Elorde International Management, is sponsored by COBRA Energy Drink, Rotary Club Manila 101, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Pagcor and Elorde Sports Center.