Jose Rizal was a boxer, too

Jose Rizal circa 1895. Photo:

By Nestor Palugod Enriquez

Dr. Jose Rizal was the Philippines’ Renaissance Man. He was a physician, a linguist, poet and fighter.

His hands were not only for writing, but the hands of a martial artist, a boxer, trainer and instructor. The maestro taught his pupils in Dapitan instruction on boxing and fencing. In London, he was known to shadow box with sons of his friend Dr. Reinhold Rost from the London Museum. Growing up in his hometown, Jose was known for beating a much bigger kid who tried bullying him. A man for all seasons, his versatility could have reinvented himself to any role and would excel in any area of discipline.


Five to six generations of Filipino Americans have been looking up the sky for another shooting star. Now comes the astronomical phenomenon, comet or superstar of this generation: Manny Pacquiao.

“Dr. Manny Pacquiao is like a shooting star that passes by the earth only once in a lifetime, maybe a million years. We are lucky to witness him in our lifetime. When he retires someday, everything about him will be just glorious stories through our mouths or pens for the sake of our children and great grandchildren. We will be telling them stories how great a boxer Manny was and so forth, just like how great a writer and hero Jose Rizal was a hundred years earlier,” writes Kevin Stoda for OpEdNews.

Donaire at the Empire State Building. Photo by Chris Farina

This weekend, I saw another comet, Nonito Donaire, the Filipino Flash. Pacquiao is certainly a hard act follow but I have been following Nonito’s career since he was competing in the Olympic trial against Brian Veloria for the right to represent the United States. After his last fight with Fernando Montiel, he showed that we are the lucky generation. We saw a dynamic duo of shooting stars. Pacquaio might be a hard act to follow, but Nonito in his own right will reach the same altitude.

I listened to his motivating speech on October 15 at the Jersey City Public Library. He was articulate and humble. He also brought something new in boxing training: the nutrition regimen factor. Nonito is from Bohol.

On October 22, watch his title fight at the Madison Square Garden or home on HBO –Donaire vs Narvaez from Argentina. For you old boxing Pinoy fan, this is a payback time against Argentina’s Pascual Perez. The curse that denied Leo Espinosa and Tanny Campo the flyweight crown in the 1950s. I will never forget those names; your grandpa will remember.

Nestor Palugod Enriquez is the president of the Filipino American Historical Society-New Jersey.

One Comment

  1. Lisa wrote:

    Just wanted to say you have a great site and thanks for posting!…

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