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La Salle-FEU game not a hindrance for boxing organizers Tan, Nacino

Renan Trongco (left) successfully defended his WBC International Flyweight
Championship against Japan's Hayato Yamaguchi in a fight card made possi-
ble by GMA star Rocco Nacino and business partner Chris Tan. Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

GMA actor Rocco Nacino and partner Chris Tan found their Heart of Champions boxing event at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall a success despite the UAAP Final Four match-up between FEU and La Salle being played at the nearby Mall of Asia Arena.

Nacino and Tan thought that the basketball game did not hinder their boxing event and even said that it helped them in filling up the place up to the rafters.

"The good thing is that after [the UAAP game] eh napuno natin ito. The important thing for us was to be able to get people drawn to the idea of boxing--the youth to bring them back to boxing," Tan said.

The boxing event started at around 5:00 PM, while the FEU-La Salle ended just past 6:00 PM with the latter winning, 94-73.

(Related Story: Green Archers force rubber match versus Tamaraws with blowout)

Tan added, "Ngayon na nandito [yung mga nanood ng FEU-La Salle game], nakita nila kung gaano ka-exciting ang boxing."

On choosing MOA as the venue, Tan explained, "We wanted to bring boxing to the mainstream audience, and one better place to bring it to the mainstream audience is the biggest mall in Asia, the SM Mall of Asia."

He added, "We wanted to give it for free so that everyone can see how amazing boxing is as a sport, especially as a sport for Filipinos."

He further said, "I always believe boxing is close to the hearts of all the Filipinos. This is something we can excel at, and we wanna show that to the people. We did that tonight."

So how did Nacino enter the boxing promotion scene? The "Bayan Ko" star replied, "Me and my partner Chris, nanood kami noong last tournament nila sa Elorde [Boxing Gym] Sucat. And then we were watching some quality fights. Ang ganda ng mga fights nila."

He further told Dugout, "So we got together with Sir Bebot [Elorde, the main promoter of the boxing card]. Sinabihan namin, 'Sir, gusto naming makita ng mga tao ito,'" prompting Elorde to push through with the proposal.

"We're very happy with the outcome of this event," Nacino evaluated the said fight card, hoping that more promotions will come in the future.

He even mulled at the possibility of tying up with fellow GMA talent and boxing champion Manny Pacquiao.

"Why not? With [Chris] and Sir Bebot, we can do it," Nacino, who even does MMA training at the Elorde Boxing Gyms in Ortigas and Marcos Highway, said about the possible collaboration with the current WBO Welterweight title holder.

Renan Trongco successfully defended his WBC International Flyweight title in the main event of the fight card.

(Related Story: Trongco scores win against gritty Japanese foe)
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