As the story has it, one day I headed to the opposite side of the globe – the Flipside. I arrived in Korea February 16th, 2005 and thought I’d do a year, then leave. I was wrong. I stayed, launched my first company, Flipside Fitness, and then opened Korea's largest boxing club, Hulk's Boxing (now called Hulk's Club).

After 11.5yrs in Korea, I then picked up one day and returned to Toronto, Canada. But then I left again.

Now I live in the Philippines where I am the CEO and head coach of Empowered Clubhouse, the Philippines' first and only boxing clubhouse exclusively just for women. I also am the founder of the Lil' Sistas Project, CEO and designer of Slay Gear and Baa Baa Black Sheep .Ph.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

A Harsh Reality Check... Sunday, October 22

I've never been afraid of boxing until today. I've taken my share of injuries -- broken noses, head conclusion and bruised ribs -- but I've never been afraid to get them. I knew they came with the sport. I know better than to load up my days of training with excessive sparring though I'm guilty of ignoring this back in Canada when I coach I later left had me sparring twice a week. I woke up after a nap, after had morning sparring, and my vision was totally blurred. It was like looking through a foggy window. I couldn't make out any details of what I was looking at. I couldn't even so much as make out the letters on the subway station name. It was bad. 

Today a young male boxer, Jeffery Claro, died here in Makati. He trains at a club I'm familiar with, a club I've also trained at, a club where some of the coaches at my current gym use to work at. On Friday he had sparring with a smaller boxer; it was the first sparring session of his training camp for his next fight, scheduled for November 19. The sparring was only a scheduled two rounder but a coach stepped in the second round to stop it after 45 seconds when he went down. He urged the coach to let him at least finish the round and the coach said no. Ten minutes after he stepped out of the ring from sparring, still smiling and joking around, he started to show signs of distress. His legs started shaking, he had to be carried to a chair, and then it was said that "he went to sleep". He was then rushed to the hospital where details of a previous brain injury were discovered and details surrounding a previous fake CT scan that had him temporarily blacklisted emerged. 

Scary stuff. 

He never took any illegal blows during that particular sparring match on Friday nor did he take any rabbit punches or hard blows, yet there he was, left in a coma on a Friday night when he should have been at home with his family. 

Last week he turned 20 and now he's gone. A young boxer, a father of a 2yr old daughter and the boyfriend and teammate of those who will forever be changed because of this terrible lost. 

I never knew him nor do I think our lives ever cross paths but we're both boxers living here in Makati and we're both very much involved in the boxing community. It made me sick to my stomach to see Facebook blow up with pictures, comments and posted news articles of this young boxer. Many of my friends, fans, fellow fighters and coaches knew of him. 

Tomorrow I'm returning to boxing and it's a bittersweet situation now because I know I'll be walking into a boxing club of mourners, people who have been shook from this incredibly sad tragedy that really wasn't so predictable or caused by such a big situation but instead a series of unfortunate events. What happened to him wasn't so far fetched and that's what is so scary.

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