THE RING and WBC flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro was overjoyed on Saturday night as he made his first appearance with THE RING belt at the Angono Municipal Gymnasium in Angono, Philippines. Jaro (34-10-5, 24 knockouts), of Binangonan, Philippines, showed off the title to the audience, who were in attendance to watch the boxing event highlighted by Filipino contender Al Sabaupan’s first-round knockout of journeyman Freddie Martinez.
Jaro was flanked by his co-managers Aljoe Jaro and Naris Singwangcha, as well as his stablemate, THE RING’s No. 5-rated strawweight contender Denver Cuello.
The 30-year-old veteran became “The Cinderella Man” of the new decade when he knocked out Pongsaklek Wonjongkam in six rounds, ending the Thai legend’s nearly uninterrupted reign as the top 112 pounder in the world. Prior to the fight, Jaro had planned to take the money earned from the fight and use it to buy a motorized tricycle to earn a living taxiing pedestrians had he lost.
The upset was largely unexpected because of Jaro’s inconsistent performances in the past, which include a first-round knockout loss to Giovani Segura in a 2009 shot at Segura’s WBA light flyweight title and a second-round KO loss to Mexican Oscar Ibarra in 2010. Jaro has since won five straight by knockout.
“Being awarded THE RING belt is the greatest honor I have ever received in my life,” said Jaro, who also goes by the surname Singwangcha. “I am now in the roster of Filipino legends like Pancho Villa, Flash Elorde and Manny Pacquiao who are fellow recipients of the award. Thank you so much to the Editorial Board of The Ring. Thanks as well to my managers Aljoe Jaro and Naris Singwangcha for guiding my career and for Kuya (Tagalog for big brother) Aljoe Jaro for personally handling my training and conditioning. Thank you to my fellow Filipinos and boxing fans around the world for their support.”
Jaro is currently preparing for his first title defense, his mandatory challenger for the WBC belt Toshiyuki Igarashi (15-1-1, 10 KOs) on July 16 in Igarashi’s backyard of Winghat, Kasukabe, Saitama, Japan.
“I have been training like a mad dog in our stable,” said Jaro. “This is my most difficult training camp. I have been punishing myself in the gym and my trainer has been letting me do things I have never imagined. Fighting in Japan is a do-or-die thing. I know I need to knock Igarashi out in order to bring home my belt. That’s what I’m preparing to do.”
Photo of Jaro and his co-manager Naris Singwangcha taken by Ryan Songalia
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News. He is also a member of The Ring ratings panel. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia