Boxing champ Luisito Espinosa seeks Marcos’ help to get remaining balance from 1997 prize money

MANILA, Philippines – Boxing champion Luisito Espinosa has sought the assistance of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in retrieving the remaining balance of the prize money he won in a 1997 bout.

In an interview on Thursday, October 13, Espinosa opened up about struggling financially. He admitted going through a tough time and hoped anyone could give him assistance. He said, “Wala. Sana may makatulong sa akin,” Espinosa said.

Boxing champ Luisito Espinosa seeks Marcos’ help
Photo Credit: Luisito Espinosa/GMA News '24 Oras'

The boxing champ added that he hasn't wronged anyone and brought honor to the country.

“Sana naman matulungan n'yo naman ako dahil wala naman akong ginawang masama. Pinagtanggol ko naman ang Pilipinas,” he said.

Espinosa also asked the President for some assistance, especially because he has yet to receive his remaining prize money back in 1997. “Sa presidente natin na si BBM, sana po matulungan n'yo po ako kasi hanggang ngayon, 'di pa rin ako nababayaran noong laban ko noong 1997 sa Mindanao," he said.

The prize money was for a WBC World Featherweight title bout between Espinosa and Argentina’s Carlos Rios held in Koronadal, South Cotabato, on December 6, 1997. Under the contract, the promoters and organizer, the late Rodolfo Nazario, former South Cotabato Governor Hilario de Pedro III and Joselito Mondejar were to pay a guaranteed purse of US$150,000 and the training expenses of US$10,000.

Days before the fight, Espinosa was paid US$29,651 and given a letter of guarantee that the remaining balance of US$130,349 will be paid on or before December 16, 1997. The amount remained to be unpaid.

Espinosa and his manager Joe Koizumi filed a complaint on May 26, 1998, against the organizers, but a Regional Trial Court of Manila later dismissed it. In 2015, the decision was overturned by the Court of Appeals (CA). The CA ordered the defendants or their legal heirs to pay Espinosa the remaining balance plus the interest rate of 12% per annum between 1998 to 2013 and another interest of 6% between 2013 until “full satisfaction.”

Espinosa used to work as a boxing trainer in Hong Kong and mainland China. He lived a quiet life in the United States, doing different jobs to survive. He returned to the Philippines this year and has been living with a friend for 3 months now.

“Down na down ako ngayon. Tinatapakan parang basahan ba,” Espinosa explained.

— Sally, The Summit Express

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