Gabuco: This is for my son

By Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 21 2012 10:53 AM | Updated as of May 21 2012 06:54 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Josie Gabuco had just stepped out of the plane that carried members of the Philippine boxing team from Qinhuangdao, China when she was handed the phone.

Gabuco was asked how she felt winning the gold medal in the AIBA World Women's Boxing Championships.

"Masayang-masaya po ako (I'm very happy). Thank you," said the 25-year-old who won the light-flyweight gold at the expense of a hometown bet.

It was the first gold medal for the Philippines in the AIBA World Championships.

Not even the male boxers have won it before with Harry Tañamor and Roel Velasco settling for the silver medals in 2007 in Chicago and in 1997 in Budapest.

Gabuco said she worked hard for the event but never expected much.

"Mahirap po kasi mag-expect ng malaki (It’s difficult to make big expectations)," said Gabuco, considering that she was up against China's Xu Shiqi in the finals.

"Especially sa finals, alam ko na kung dikit ang laban, tagilid tayo (I knew that in a close match, we're in trouble)," said Gabuco.

But she pulled it off against her fading opponent, and went on to score a 10-9 victory after entering the fourth and final round trailing, 8-7.

"Naging fair naman sila," she said of the judging.

"We're so proud of Josie," said ABAP executive director Ed Picson who traveled with the team.

Gabuco, who won the bronze in the same tournament in 2008, stands to receive a hefty cash incentive from PLDT/Smart, the main backers of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines.

She can easily get a million pesos for it, and just the thought of it makes her so happy.

Gabuco has a five-year-old son, Mack Joseph, whom she had entrusted to her teammates at the ABAP Gym at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex while she was away.

"Gusto ko na siya makita. Para sa kanya ito (I want to see him now. This is for him)," said the two-time gold medalist in the Southeast Asian Games.

"Kung ano man ang matanggap ko, para sa anak ko ito. Assured na ang future niya," said Gabuco, who's also hoping to pay the balance for the house she built in Laguna.

"Sana po mabayaran ko na din," she said.

For her victory, Gabuco also stands to get a cash bonus from the Philippine Sports Commission under Republic Act 9064.

For quadrennial world championships, the gold is worth P2.5 million, but since the AIBA World Championships is a biennial event, the PSC said it will think of something else.

"It does not qualify with the same incentive for a quadrennial world championship. But we will think of something that will make her happy," said PSC chairman Richie Garcia yesterday.

"We have not talked about it yet," said ABAP president Ricky Vargas of the cash incentive.

Gabuco may be in for the surprise of her life.