By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
March 18, 2014
SAN CARLOS, Calif. – Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire Jr. continue to bring pride to Filipinos everywhere for their courage in the ring. And now a 25-year-old, Fil-Am is ready to do the same.
Bruno Escalante is the current International Boxing Association Super Flyweight Champion. He scored a knockout with a left hand to the body in the first round during his fight against much-seasoned Lorenzo Trejo last month. And he’s right back in the gym, training for a title defense in a few weeks.
Escalante was born in Cebu in the town of Sibonga and grew up in the Hawaiian island of Oahu where he got his nickname “The Aloha Kid”. He now trains at the Undisputed Gym in San Carlos, Calif. Escalante has a record of 12 wins with six by way of knockout with one loss and one draw.
Before all that, a young 14-year-old Escalante wandered into a gym in his hometown of Waimanalo by the snapping of a speed bag.
“I trained under Coach Blane Yosiha at East Oahu Boxing Club,” Escalante said. “The very first time he saw me he told my brothers and my brother’s friend that this kid had potential. And I always believed in that.”
Escalante has come a long way but his journey is just beginning. He works and trains here at Undisputed Gym in San Carlos, Calif. which is also home to fellow boxer Nonito Donaire. Escalante met with Donaire in Las Vegas during the Pacquiao/Cotto fight weekend in 2009.
“I happen to have Nonito’s number so I called him up and I meet him up,” he said. “Long story short, three days later he flew me out to the Bay Area and he believed in me. He told me that I can help you. Just train hard. I could help you and manage you. I’ll train you.”
As time went on, Donaire’s career expanded and left Escalante with the possibility to return to Hawaii until more people took notice of his skills.
“Luck always seems to be by my side so I’m so grateful for the people I meet,” Escalante said.
Escalante wants to be the best so he surrounds himself with a team of experts dedicated to his success.
“It’s tough,” he said. “It’s hard to get there. I’m willing to work hard. I’m very confident with my team. Brian Schwartz Michael Bazzel and now I’m working with Victor Conti and Remi Korchemny, and my manager Herb Stone. I’m in the right direction to get there.”