A few weeks back, Sonny Boy Jaro headed across
Asia from his home in the Philippines to Thailand where he met modern-day
legend Pongsaklek Wonjongkam in a WBC/The
Ring magazine flyweight title fight. No one expected much from the then 29-year-old
rank outsider; he entered the bout with a decidedly average record and had
twice come up short in light flyweight world title fights (to Edgar Sosa on
points before being stopped by Giovani Segura in
their opening round). There was nothing to suggest “The Bullet” would unseat
the greatest flyweight of his generation; it was viewed by all as a marking
time fight. However, this was one bullet Pongsaklek was unable to dodge. Jaro
started fast, dropping the hometown favourite in the opening stanza. Jaro relentlessly
stalked him throughout, putting him down again in the third and twice more in
the sixth round before the
merciless beatdown was stopped. It
is one of the most unlikely victories of this year- or any year. A huge betting
underdog, Jaro winning in Thailand against Pongsaklek is akin to someone
travelling to the Philippines and beating Manny Pacquiao.
It won’t be easy for Jaro to keep hold of his new title; he has to fight
Toshiyuki Igarashi in a tricky looking first defence. It’ll be interesting to
see how things pan out for Jaro, whose record now stands at 34-10-5 (24), but for now, he’s turned the flyweight
division upside down with his brilliant performance.
Wainwright - Congratulations on a
sensational win over Pongsaklek Wonjongkam. How happy you were with your
Sonny Boy Jaro – Yes, I’m so very happy at this moment ‘cause I’m the
real world champion and beat the legend from Thailand and pound-for-pound top
AW - Going into the fight, you had lost 10 fights previously and been stopped
seven times, how did you manage to fight so well?
SBJ - Because before, I’m not in good shape. When I have a fight, I fight only
for the paycheck.
AW - Though it's far too early to know what your next move will be, what
would you like to do in terms of when you next fight and who you fight? What
goals do you have in boxing and what's your plans for the rest of this year?
SBJ - My manager/promoter/trainer Mr. Aljoe Jaro arranges all
those matters but I think my next fight will be in Japan against Igarashi
the number one contender in my division because before my fight with Pongsaklek,
they have already agreement if who's the winner between me and Pongsaklek. The
fight is a mandatory against Igarashi of Japan. Maybe this will be in June.
AW - What sort of reception did you get when you returned to the Philippines?
How popular are you now? Could you tell us about your training? Also, please name
some of the other fighters you train with.
SBJ – Yes, I’m surprised when I get back in the Philippines. Before my fight,
nobody knows me and too many people underestimated me. Many people did not
believe that I would win against Pongsaklek but for feeling, I won. I
won because I train hard for this fight, my promoter/manager, Aljoe Jaro,
supervised my training every morning and, in the afternoon, gym work. Aljoe
Jaro, my manager/promoter, is always by my side. He holds mitts for me
every day; during my sparring, my manager/promoter asks me, ‘How I can [help
you?]’. Thank you so much to my manager/promoter for assisting my daily
training...and also thanks to Denver Cuello, Edgar Gabejan and Danilo Pena for helping
me as my sparring partners.
AW - You were born in Silay City, Negros Occidental, Philippines. Can you tell us
about your early years growing up? Were things difficult for you and your
SBJ - Yes. I was born in Silay City; my father is a shoemaker. In my early age,
I know how to work hard and help my father to make shoes.
AW - How did you first become interested in boxing?
SBJ - When I was 12 years old, I started boxing
in the amateurs. I have 59 fights in amateur career.
AW - What are your thoughts on the flyweight division and the other champions like
the WBA’s Hernan Marquez, the IBF’s Moruti Mthalane and the WBO’s Brian
SBJ - All your mentioned names are good but if I have chance to fight the names
you mentioned...let’s get it on!
AW - Viloria is part Filipino and fights there quite often. It would be a
big fight in the Philippines. What are your thoughts on that fight?
SBJ - I am always reluctant to fight a fellow Filipino but
if the time comes when I need to face him, then I will do that fight
gladly. Brian Viloria is a complete fighter. He can box and punch. But the
whole world has seen my power. The fight can go either way but when I’m in my
best shape, I know I can beat Brian Viloria.
AW - Can you tell us about your life away
from boxing? What are your hobbies and interests? Do you or have you had to
work a day job as well as handle your boxing career?
SBJ - I'm so very happy as a boxer
because I like boxing. When I'm in the gym, I like talk to my co-boxers and
make more jokes. My hobbies are driving motorbikes and going to other
places but now I stop driving motor bikes. I realize that when I ride the motorbike,
it's dangerous. Now, I have a plan to buy a new car. Before, I had no
scheduled fights. I worked as a gym boxing trainer so I get extra
AW - Can you talk to us about the sort of influence Manny Pacquiao has
had on you as a fighter and also as a person? If you have met him, perhaps you
can share a story with us?
SBJ - Yes, Manny Pacquiao is a big
help for boxing...if there was no Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino boxers
[would not be] recognized in the world of boxing...now I’m happy that I’m the
one recognized boxer in the world.
AW – Finally, do you have a
message for the boxing world after your recent big win?
SBJ - Once again, thank you to
Maxboxing for this opportunity to share my story. Also thanks to Almighty God.
To all boxing fans, thank you so much and more power and God to all boxing
fans. Keep punching!