Why the once 'marvelous' Marvin Sonsona left boxing for 3 years
MANILA, Philippines – When you hear the name Marvin Sonsona (20-1-1, 15 knockouts), the first thing that comes to mind is his incredible talent, yet it will be always be accompanied by his troubled professional boxing career.
Sonsona finally wants to redeem himself from the immature past of his youth as he gets back in the ring on May 13 as one of the undercards of the Mark Barriga vs Gabriel Mendoza fight.
The rise that spiraled down
After winning the WBO world superflyweight title – his first world title – in 2009, Sonsona was immediately stripped of the belt before he even entered the ring in his first title defense against Mexican Alejandro Hernandez. Sonsona had missed the 115-lb weight division by 2.5 lbs.
In his team's effort to redeem Sonsona's name from the embarrassing experience, they were able to set up a fight between him and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. for the vacant WBO super bantamweight title. However, Sonsona entered the match with the "pre-match complacency" omen that saw him get knocked out by the 4th round.
After his first loss, Sonsona disappeared.
He eventually came back in 2011 and went on a winning streak that was punctuated by his vengeful win against Vazquez Jr in 2014. There was hope that the young professional boxer had finally grown up to be wiser to take his career seriously, but Sonsona disappeared again.
Sonsona only returned in 2015 with the hope of beginning a new chapter in a fight against Johnathan Arrellano. Despite winning by majority decision, it no longer came as a surprise when he started rejecting his team's efforts to arrange fights, marking the point where his name would start vanishing again from the boxing scene.
The sole reason
Aside from burning bridges with his previous promoter Sammy Gello-ani, Sonsona revealed that the only reason that kept him out of the boxing scene was the birth of his daughter, Mara.
In 2015, Mara was born prematurely and was on the brink of survival.
"Yung promoter ko, nagkaproblema kami kaya naistop ako sa boxing tapos yun nabigyan ako ng biyaya ng Panginoon na nanganak asawa ko tapos premature [yung baby] kaya pinabayaan ko muna yung boxing, inaalagaan ko yung anak ko," said Sonsona
(I had problems with my promoter that's why I stopped boxing then God blessed me with the birth of my daughter, but then she was premature, that's why I left boxing and took care of my daughter)
In those 3 fightless years, Sonsona missed boxing, but he does not regret the decision to leave the sport that brought him fame, as his daughter is now alive and well.
"Akala namin parang mamamatay na [yung anak ko]. Sobrang blessed ko ngayon na binigyan talaga [ng Panginoon] ng pag-asa yung anak ko, kaya ngayon, sobrang kulit na. Siya talaga yung inspirasyon ko ngayon," said Sonsona.
(We thought that my daughter would not survive. I am so blessed that God gave hope to my daughter, that's why she's so hyper now. She's really my inspiration now.)
Early in 2018, Sonsona appealed to promoter Joven Jimenez and IBF junior bantamweight title holder Jerwin Ancajas, as he wanted another shot for the world title.
"Sabi ko kay Jerwin: ‘Jerwin! Si Marvin gusto magboxing ulit. Ano sa tingin mo?’," recalled Jimenez.
(I asked Jerwin: Jerwin! Marvin wants to box again. What do you think?)
"Ay coach, parehas tayo minessage," replied Ancajas (Coach, he messaged us both)
"Sige, tulungan natin," said Jimenez. (Okay, let's help him out)
With the knowledge of Sonsona's past, both Jimenez and Ancajas agreed to welcome Sonsona to Survival Camp. However, they made sure to give him some leeway to opt out of the rigorous training program if he would give up.
"Nag-setup ako ng meeting, sabi ko kay Marvs: ‘sige mag-meeting tayo Marvs, mag-usap tayo, kasi kailangan mong intindihin kung ano meron sa Survival Camp. Mahirap din sa survival camp, wala kaming pera, na sa bundok pa kami'," explained Jimenez.
(I set up a meeting with Sonsona and I told Marvs: 'let's have a meeting, Marvs, let's talk, because you need to know what is there in Survival Camp. Survival Camp is difficult, we don't have money and we're in the mountains.)
"Sinabi ko sa kanya na: ‘ikaw, kung ayaw mo o hindi mo na kaya, anytime pwede kang umalis and pwede kang magpaalam. Kami, nandun lang kami’," added Jimenez.
(I told him: 'If you would give up or if you could not take it anymore, you can leave anytime and you can tell me. We're just there.')
In a span of a month, Sonsona has not given up from Jimenez' training and has kept up with Ancajas and former Olympian Mark Barriga. His improvement – especially the decrease in his body weight – merited him an opportunity to fight again on live television on May 13.
However, if he wants the world title, Jimenez still believes that he has more to work on with regards to his physical condition.
"Yung galing niya nandun, hindi nawawala. Yung isip niya nandun, so yung pisikal na kundisyon lang ang kailangan niya. Pag nakuha niya yun in two to 3 fights, pag nakita namin na maganda kundisyon niya, ready na siya for world title," said Jimenez.
(His skill is there, it does not disappear. His mind is there, so his physical condition is the only thing he needs to improve on. If he gets it in two to 3 fights, if we see that his condition is good, he is ready for the world title.)
Before looking far ahead of the world title, Sonsona is 100% ready for whoever his opponent will be in his comeback fight and he hopes that it will also be blessed by the birth of his second child, who is expected to come on May 9.
"100% ready talaga [ako]. Kasi grabe yung ensayo namin doon, yung ensayo talaga yung trabaho doon. Wala ng iba," said Sonsona.
(I'm 100% ready. The training there is intense, like the only thing you do there is train. Nothing else.) – Rappler.com