http://philboxing.com/news/story-82132.htmlMalcolm Tunacao: “I am sorry. I let you all down”
Malcolm “Eagle Eye” Tunacao intended to go home to the Philippines after his title fight last Monday. He was hoping that he can present the WBC bantamweight belt to his three kids, mother, family, friends and fans in his native Cebu. But after last night’s crushing defeat at the hands of current champ, Shinsuke Yamanaka, his plans changed.
“Hindi siguro ako uuwi. Kung nanalo, uuwi ako (I don’t think I will be going home. If I won, I would be going home)," a dejected Tunacao told Philboxing.com, a day after losing his attempt to wrestle the belt from Yamanaka.
Tunacao was not only dejected, he was apologetic to me, his Filipino and Japanese fans, his family and friends after losing in his bid to capture a second world title.
“Sir, I am sorry, I did my best. I did my best. Sorry,” expressed the boxer who waited twelve long years for his title shot last night in Tokyo, Japan.
The Mandaue City born boxer who now resides in Kobe, Japan lost via TKO in the 12th and final round of his championship match against Yamanaka. Tunacao was down twice in the 3rd round, and once in that last round when he was deemed unfit to continue to fight.
“Ginawa ko talaga lahat, pero nabigo ko ang mga Pinoy (I did all I can do, and I let the Filipinos down)," continued Tunacao.
Tunacao broke down in tears when he reached his locker room last night after his hard fight last Monday. His team cried with him. His fiancée, Grace, who flew from Cebu to Tokyo was emotional the entire fight. It was a gloomy locker room.
“Umiyak kami lahat, kasi nakita nila na gusto ko manalo (We all cried, because they saw that I really wanted to win)," expressed Tunacao.
It was that will to win that carried Tunacao in the ring. Two knockdowns in the 3rd round did not stop that, a nasty cut in his right eye in the 9th did not deter him. And despite being knocked down a third time in the 12th, Tunacao wanted to fight on and objected when the fight was stopped by the referee.
“Hindi ko inisip mag-quit. Iniisip ko talaga kaya ko ito at manalo dito. After sa cut ini-stop ng ref. Pinangtingnan sugat ko tapos ang ref nag decide na itigil. Sabi ko, No, no, no. Makakakita pa din ako (I never thought of quitting. All I thought was that I can do this and I can win this. After the cut, the ref stopped it and had my cut checked. Then he decided to stop it, I told him, No, no, no. I still can see)," Tunacao narrated.
Why? Because it took Tunacao twelve years to realize his dream of fighting for another world title belt, twelve long years. It was in 2000 when he first won the WBC flyweight crown, he was only 23 then. Now at 35, he knew that this was probably his last chance to go at it.
The boxer had a special visitor at ringside last Monday, former WBA and WBO flyweight champ Brian Viloria, who only two days ago suffered the same fate as Tunacao, losing his belts to his challenger in nearby Macao, China. Viloria was there to lend support to Tunacao and gave him words of encouragement before the fight.
“Sabi niya (Viloria), Good luck. Pumunta lang daw sila ng asawa niya para suportahan ako (He told me, Good Luck. And that he and his wife purposely went there to support him)," said Tunacao.
Viloria also approached Tunacao after the fight, after that painful defeat. And the former champ comforted his heavy hearted fellow boxer and countryman.
“Nandoon din (siya) after sa fight. Kasi umiiyak ako, sabi (niya) wa'g kang umiyak, Mag training pa tayo, ako nga na talo. Ganyan lang daw ang laro (He was also there after the fight. I was crying and he told me not to cry. Let us train more, look at me, I lost too. That is just the nature of the sport)," recounted Tunacao.
“Ang sagot ko sa (kanya), Oo, pero gusto ko talaga maging two time- two division (champion). Sabi niya, ok lang, mag training pa tayo (I told him, yes but I really wanted to become a two time-two division champion. He told me, that is okay, let us just train even harder)"
Tunacao was hopeful that he can bring that belt to his three kids, Sharalyn, Dave and Malcolm Jr., to his mother and to his family and friends in Cebu after Monday night. They were all crying when he called them last night, emotional like him.
“Umiiyak din sila, kasi umiiyak ako ng tumawag sa kanila. Sabi nila kahit nabigo daw ako, ako parin ang champ sa buhay nila (They were also crying because I was crying when I called them. They told me that even though I lost, I am still the champion of their lives),” expressed Tunacao.
“Humingi ako ng sorry sa kanila kaya yun sagot nila, ng mga anak ko. Masakit talaga sir (I told them sorry and that was my kids’ reply. It really hurts sir)," Tunacao confided to me.
It took Malcolm Tunacao twelve long years, a change of promoters, a move to another country, a long arduous climb at the ranking ladder to get him that title shot. That is why he was this emotional, this apologetic, this dejected.
But despite the defeat, his Filipino and Japanese fans and friends were there, expressing words of comfort and encouragement. It was a gesture that Tunacao was truly grateful of.
“Malaking pasasalamat ko sa kanila kasi kahit di ako Hapon tinangap nila ako at sinuportahan (I thanked them greatly because even though I am not Japanese, they accepted and supported me)," Tunacao expressed.
“Ang mga fans kong Japanese umiyak sila lahat (My Japanese fans were all crying)," he added.
“Sorry, nabigo ko kayong lahat (I am sorry, I let you all down)," Tunacao once again stated.
Malcolm Tunacao will have his cut looked at later today once they get back to Kobe, Japan. He said that it was deep and will probably need stitches. But the bigger wound, the deeper cut is the feeling that he let everyone down. And it will take more than stitches to mend it.
No need to apologize sir. As fight fans, we are extremely lucky to have you as our kababayan. Good luck with your future endeavors!