On a night where the bright stars from the Philippine Boxing scene came out to celebrate not only the pageantry of the sweet science, but also the 80th birthday and the 30th death anniversary of the great Gabriel “Flash” Elorde. It was Donnie “Ahas” Nietes and “The Filipino Flash” Nonito Donaire, however, whose stars shined the brightest as they were inducted into the prestigious Elorde Hall of Fame on Wednesday at the Manila Hotel.
A fighter can only be inducted into the Elorde Hall of Fame if he/she has received the honors of Elorde Boxer of the Year for seven consecutive years, a fitting tribute to the seven year world championship run of Gabriel “Flash” Elorde. In the first 14 years of the prestigious event, only one fighter has ever been inducted into the Hall of Fame, as only “the Fighting Pride of the Philippines” Manny Pacquiao was given the honor. Now we can add two more fighters to the list; Donnie Nietes and Nonito Donaire were inducted into the hall of fame as well.
Donaire was honored to win the award, and we had a chance to have a short talk with the former world champion. He expressed how honored he was to be part of such an exclusive group. “It’s an honor to be side-by-side with Manny [Pacquiao] and Donnie [Nietes]. It’s a big honor to be called one of the Philippines’ greatest boxers ever. It such a huge honor, actually I’m lost for words,” Donaire told us. On stage, Donaire told the people in attendance about his “Flash” Elorde story: “I first saw Flash at Ronnie Nathanielsz house, and I immediately idolized him. Thank you to everyone especially to the Elorde family.”
Nonito Donaire is a five division world champion, and has a record of 20-3. Donnie “Ahas” Nietes is the current WBO and the Ring Magazine Light Flyweight Champion with a record of 34 wins(20 KO) and just 1 loss. Both have won the Elorde Boxer of the Year in seven consecutive years.
Two other boxers were honored with the Boxer of the Year award: IBO World Light Flyweight Champion, Rey Loreto, (20w-13l) and interim WBA World Light Flyweight Champion, Randy Petalcorin (22w-1l-1d).
In another amazing feat, ALA Promotions CEO and President Michael Aldeguer was named the promoter of the year for the seventh straight year. Event hosts, Liza Elorde and Ted Lerner, announced that in next year’s event, Aldeguer will receive a highest citation award for winning the award for seven years. Aldeguer in his speech told the audience that “Flash” Elorde was a huge inspiration in his life. “I knew about Flash when my father told me about him. My father idolized him. He had a lot of posters of him in his room, and I never knew why. Eventually, the more I knew about Flash, the more I idolized him. We would not be here without him.”
A posthumous award was given to the late, great Anthony Villanueva, who passed away May 13, 2014. Anthony Villanueva was a Filipino Olympian who won the silver medal for the Philippines in the Featherweight (-57 kg) boxing event at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
Other awardees for the Elorde Class of 2014 include:
Best Female Amateur Boxer: Nestry Petecio – Silver Medalist 2014 Asian Games, AIBA World Champion
Best Male Amateur Boxer: Charly Suarez – Silver Medalist 2014 Asian Games
Special Award: Hitoshi Hisako – Former Japan & OPBF Flyweight Champion, First Japanese fighter to fight in the Philippines after World War 2
All 36 national, regional, continental, and world champions were also inducted into the class of 2014. In addition, special recognition were given to the referee of the year and other individuals who have given to the sport.
The awards night was presented by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Contour Rehabilitation and Wellness Inc., Hapee Toothpaste, Cobra, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), Manila Hotel, Rotary Club Manila 101, Southpaw Bar, Bai & Mig Party Favors and the Elorde Sports Center.