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Zambo Norte athlete snags boxing gold medal for Palarong Pambansa

If you were to tell the 8-year-old Tyron Jay Quillosa that he would be a reigning boxing champion, his father probably would have whooped you out of the room. But alas, 7 years later at the ripe age of 15, he stands not only a national boxing champion but also made history as his municipality and province’s first national gold medalist in the sport.

Growing up in the quaint little village of Tigbao, Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte with a father who was also a boxer in his own right, Tyron already knew at a young age that the sport owned his heart. However, all too aware of the dangers and consequences, his father, in an attempt to keep him safe, tried to redirect his son’s attention onto another sport.

When he was around 6 or 7 years old, his father installed a basketball ring in their front yard hoping that Tyron might develop an interest in it and move away from boxing altogether. However, all those efforts turned out to be in vain when his father saw him using the ball wrapped in a cloth and hanging from the ring as an improvised punching bag. Evidently, his heart was singing the song of another ring.

When his father acknowledged his passion for boxing, he started training him at the age of 8. By the time he turned 9 years old, he was already competing in his first tournament. It wasn’t long before he started going to Cairo Sy Boxing Stables where his father also worked as a trainer.

His mother, while not a boxer herself, was more than happy to support him following his father’s footprints. As long as his grades remained unaffected, she would continue to support and cheer him on. 

All hard work came to fruition when he got to the 9th grade in Sindangan National Agricultural School (SNAS) and he qualified for the Palarong Pambansa, Bantam Weight, Junior Boys’ Division.

He trained from 6:00 am to 7:30 am every morning before heading off to school. On days when he’d come to class an hour late, both his teachers and classmates were more than happy to help out. Teachers would give him other activities to make up for the ones he missed, while his classmates helped him out on topics where he needed a little more help.

According to his coach and 9th grade adviser, Mrs. Alona Moreno, he could have easily pulled the national-athlete-training-for-his-tournament card to get out of his school work, but instead he pushed through with just as much perseverance as he did with his sport.

From adhering to a strict diet and training routine to choosing his company carefully to avoid distractions, Tyron was unwavering in following instructions down to the smallest detail. After all, this was what he’d been training for since he was a kid.

Even before becoming a national athlete, both his dad and their gym coordinator made sure he was constantly exposed to fighters both in and out of his league. On occasion, they’d even arrange for friendly matches with members of the Philippine Team

By the time the tournament came around in Marikina, Tyron not only had years worth of training on his side, but the immovable force that only came with a burning passion for the game.

His first match against Region II’s Florentino Balagui ended in a knockout so hard, his opponent had to get rushed to the hospital.

In his second bout, he faced Ivan James Agad of Davao, who also came from a family of boxers. Despite this, Tyron still managed to secure victory through a split decision.

Riding on the adrenaline, he was more than ready to face his third opponent – Region VI’s Chaly Tolosa III, unfortunately, there were complications regarding his weight, and the round ended in a walkover.

In the championship match, his last opponent was Reinjel Vina. Exhausted from previous rounds, both athletes were eager to conclude the match as swiftly as possible.

Tyron took a blow to his upper leg – a hit boxers aren’t conditioned to take – and it gave out. Both his coaches thought he would forfeit, but he took his main character moment and saw it through. This was his fight; he’d been training his whole life for this moment. He was going to see it through until the very end.

Through a unanimous decision, he was declared the winner.

Because of his performance, the Philippine Team extended an invitation and offered him a spot on their team.  This opens up two paths for his boxing career: either pursuing the Olympics or venturing into the professional arena.

Even when confronted with this life-changing opportunity, Tyron opted to take a step back and chose to discuss the matter with his family.  His father then emphasized that their dream for their child is to see him finish his education and get a degree.

“Mas maayo man nang naay nahuman kay aron kung muundang man gani siya’g dula puhon, at least naa siyay masandigan. [It’s better for him if he has a degree so that on the chance that he decides to stop fighting, he’ll have something to fall back on,]” his father said. 

Throughout his Palarong Pambansa journey, he and the team received full moral support from his school. The Local Government Unit of Sindangan extended monetary support by giving Php1,655 per athlete while Sindangan Vice Mayor Nilo Florentino “Boy” Sy provided Php1,000 per athlete. Congresswoman Glona Labadlabad also provided for their travel expenses and gave them free uniform shirts.The Palarong Pambansa qualifiers of Zamboanga del Norte all received Php10,000 cash incentives from the province. While Tyron, as the national champion, is expected to receive additional Php 10,000, and Php 30,000 from the Department of Education Region IX.

When asked what he wants his fellow student athletes to keep in mind in their pursuit for their own legacy, he only had this to say.

“Laban lang. Practice lang gyud basta di lang mapabayaan ang pagiskwela, practice lang gyud (Keep fighting. As long as you don’t slack off on your academics, you have to keep training and practicing).” (KSA/EDT/PJF/PIA9-Zamboanga del Norte)

About the Author

Pamela Joyce Fumero

Information Officer - I

Region 9

A psychology graduate with latin honors from Mindanao State University - Iligan Institute of Technology, Pamela is a registered psychometrician currently employed as a writer and information officer at the Philippine Information Agency's Region IX - Zamboanga del Norte Information Center.

As an information officer, she attends meetings and provides coverage for both government and nongovernment events that benefit the Filipino people.

She also writes feature and news stories which can be found on PIA's official website. 

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