Disability is often seen negatively, something that prevents one from reaching their dreams. For Jeffrey Arienza, it is the other way around.
Born with a left shin shorter than the other, you won’t see an inch of misery in the 25-year old boxer from Surigao City. According to him, he might be doing something else and would not have pursued boxing if weren’t for it.
“Yung sakin po inborn ito, simula nung pagkabata,” Arienza told Tiebreaker Times, “pero awa naman ng Diyos eto nakakalaro padin kasi kung hindi dahil dito siguro hindi ako makakapag boxing.”
That doesn’t mean that the road he took was always smooth, though. In boxing, as well as in other sports, athletes capitalize on every possible advantage to win over their opponent. But a true warrior in and out of the ring, he makes up for what he lacks physically with hard work and dedication in training.
It was well displayed in his most recent fight almost two weeks ago against Edsil Jungco. He struggled to find his rhythm at the beginning of their four-round fight, against the more agile Jungco, but he didn’t give up. Instead, Arienza kept his composure and pressured his opponent until he couldn’t answer the bell heading to the final round.
“Medyo nahirapan ako kasi sobrang malikot siya, lagi siyang tumatakbo, suntok tapos takbo kaya medyo nahirapan ako pero ok naman.” He recalled the fight, “Nung pangalawang round medyo nakukuha ko na. Nung bago mag third round sinabi ng coach ko na pasukin ng pasukin kaya pinasok ko ayun. Pagbilang sa kanya, sabi niya ayaw na daw niya kasi pagod na siya tsaka natamaan ko ng uppercut ng kanan ko.”
Jeffrey couldn’t be any happier with the opportunities that have opened for him inside the ring, having fought for titles both here and abroad despite the physical challenges he has. For him, those things would not be possible and he wouldn’t be the fighter he is today without it.
“Sobrang saya kasi katulad sakin, kahit ganito ako. Natutuwa ako kasi kung hindi dahil dito sa paa ko, hindi ako makakaapak ng ibang bansa.”
“Dahil dito, mas lalo akong nagsusumikap. Ito siguro ang bigay sa akin ng Diyos na makapagboxing. Siguro kung hindi dahil dito, wala ako sa boxing.”