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Froilan Saludar: "I will fight the other world-class Filipinos if my promoters make it happen"

(Photo © Sampsonboxing.com)
(Photo © Sampsonboxing.com)

By Anson Wainwright


Boxing in the Philippines starts and ends with Manny Pacquiao. It’s nearly impossible for anyone else to get a look in but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other worthy Filipino fighters. One boxer who has benefited from Pacquiao opening the doors in his home country is Froilan Saludar. The 23-year-old campaigns in the relatively hot flyweight division, especially hot in the Philippines (currently homing unified champion Brian Viloria, former champion Sonny Boy Jaro, grizzled veteran Rocky Fuentes and fellow up-and-comer Milan Melindo). For the most part, Filipinos don’t fight each other on the world stage but if these guys continue progressing, they may not have that choice much longer. Saludar is represented by renowned agent/advisor Sampson Lewkowicz (whose clients include World Middleweight Champion Sergio Martinez, Chris John and Anselmo Moreno), who speaks highly of the fighter nicknamed “The Sniper.” Says Lewkowicz, “Froilan Saludar has very special talent and I have no doubt he will become a world champion. I am very proud to work with him as well as my partner, Sammy Gello-ani.” Saludar boasts an impressive 16-0-1 (11) record and has won a slew of various WBO trinkets. He’s ranked in the top 10 by all four major sanctioning bodies (rated seven by the WBC, four by the WBA, three by the IBF and two by the WBO) and recently broke into The Ring magazine rankings, sitting 10th.


Anson Wainwright - You scored a wide points win over Mexican fighter Jose Alfredo Tirado in September. Can you tell us about the fight and how you thought you performed?
 
Froilan Saludar - It was not an easy fight because he is good boxer, a hard puncher and also, a very experienced fighter. I got him with a good shot in the first and second round but he was there, trying to counter me. In the third round, I tried to outbox him and just confuse him and it seemed to work, so I continued to box him in the fourth round and fifth and I hit him with a solid jab and straight right. I continued my strategy until the last round. I think it was not my best performance.

AW - When are you looking at fighting next? What are your plans for next year?
 
FS - It depends on my promoters, Sampson Lewkowicz and Sammy Gello-ani, on what they want me to do for my next fight and for my plans for next year. I’m ready to fight whoever my next opponent is.

AW - Who are the key members of your team? Also where do you regularly train?

FS - My manager/trainer is Mr. Joven H. Jimenez; my promoters are Sampson Lewkowicz and Sammy Gello-ani. My assistant trainer is Mr. Romeo Desabille Jr. and I train at Top Contender Gym in Muntinlupa City, Philippines.

AW - Could you tell us about your training?
 
FS - I train early in the morning for my cardiovascular and muscular endurance. In the afternoon, I train for my skills, looking for new techniques and tactics, improving my punching power and I also study from my previous fight.

AW - You were born in Polomolok, Cotabato del Sur, Philippines. Could you tell us about your early years growing up? How did you become interested in boxing?

FS - When I was nine years old, my father told me and my brothers that he would bring us to the nearby town to train for boxing. I told him that I didn’t want to learn boxing because I didn’t want to fight somebody but my father insisted that he could not send us to high school because he had no work to support us. My brothers had their first amateur fights and they got money. So I told my father I would box for the next schedule and after the fight, I told myself that I would box again because I won and got money and that was the beginning of my dream to become a world champion.

AW - What are your thoughts on the current flyweight world champions, the WBC’s Toshiyuki Igarashi, the WBA/WBO champ Brian Viloria and the IBF champion Moruti Mthalane?
 
FS – As far as the current world champions, they are some of the best fighters today. I will fight them or whoever I get an opportunity to fight. They are my idols but I will fight them because it is the only way to achieve my goals.

AW - There are many Filipinos doing well at flyweight including Sonny Boy Jaro and Brian Viloria plus Rocky Fuentes and Milan Melindo. How competitive are you guys and would you like to fight them?
 
FS - They are proven world-class fighters but I will fight them if my promoters decide to make it happen. It would depend on the plans of my promoters.
 
AW - Can you tell us a little about what you like to do away from boxing? What are your hobbies and interests?
 
FS - I like to play basketball and watch movies.

AW – Obviously, the biggest Filipino boxing icon is Manny Pacquiao, who has opened so many doors for fighters in the Philippines. Could you tell us from your point of view what sort of impact he’s had on you?

FS - Manny Pacquiao brought us Filipino fighters to the world of boxing. He opened the door for me in many ways, such as international promoters and managers want Filipino fighters for fights on the international level like in America and other countries.

AW - What are your goals in boxing?
 
FS - I want to become a world champion someday and help my fellow fighters achieve their goals.

AW - Growing up, who was your boxing hero and why?
 
FS - My idols are Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.

AW – Finally, do you have anything you’d like to say to the flyweight division?
 
FS - I say to the flyweights, I will work hard to achieve my goals and good luck to all you and God bless. Thank you very much and more power to you.
 
Questions and or comments can be sent to Anson at elraincoat@live.co.uk and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright. Anson is also a member of The Ring magazine’s ratings panel.
 
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