Young boxer fights way out of poverty
Billy Ray Naelgas of MIMAROPA has been boxing for 6 years.

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – Billy Ray Naelgas has been boxing since he was 6.

Unlike most, his mother pushed him to fight.

His father, a tricycle driver, drives him to training every day.

          Sama sama lang po ako sa training ng kuya ko. Doon na po ako nag-umpisa mag-boxing.


His 12th birthday is the same day as his Palarong Pambansa semifinals fight.

He loses the bout and settles for bronze…

But he says his fights here are much easier than those at home.

Billy Ray is from Palawan, where boxing at a young age is the norm.

Even before Manny Pacquiao, kids in their town boxed to provide entertainment.

          Yun po ang hobby namin ma’am. Kasi masaya tuwing sa baranggay maraming nanonood.

          LEO PAGDATO

Boxing is MIMAROPA’s pride and Billy Ray is a star at home for making it to Palaro.

But being a young boxer is difficult.

Training is intense, and so is making weight.

          PAGDATOBiro mo, mag-reduce iyan dadalhan lang namin ng sabaw, sabaw lang talaga pinapakain namin tapos konting kanin. Kung minsan pinapakanin namin ng mansanas lang.

                            Talagang mahirap ang boksing, biruin mo matulog yan gutom.

But Billy Ray is willing to make all the sacrifices.

He says he will keep boxing to make money, get a scholarship and help his family.

Billy Ray may have missed the gold but the fight to a better life continues.

Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler, Pangasinan.

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