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Fil-Am amateur boxer Kris Tatlonghari (r.) of Park Slope, Brooklyn in action.  (Filipino Reporter photo by Ryan Songalia)

 

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Exclusive to the Filipino Reporter

As Filipino professional boxing stars Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire prepare for mega-fights on the sport’s highest level, New York City-based Fil-Am amateur boxer Kris Tatlonghari entered the ring at Mount Vernon High School on Feb. 7 to attempt to carve out his own place in the sweet science.

The 26-year-old Tatlonghari of Park Slope, Brooklyn decided to jump straight into the New York Daily News Golden Gloves tournament after only one amateur bout in hopes of winning the coveted pendant and chain that is awarded to the champions.

The tournament, which is considered the most prestigious regional competition in America, is in its 84th year of existence.

Competing in the 141-pound novice division, Tatlonghari met 25-year-old Jeffrey Pierre, also of Brooklyn.

In the opening moments of the matchup, Tatlonghari shocked the crowd by knocking Pierre to the canvas with a straight right hand.

Dazed but still game, Pierre arose to his feet and ultimately outworked Tatlonghari en route to a decision victory.

“Boxing fundamentals say that the best weapon on a southpaw is a straight cross,” explained Tatlonghari, whose mother (from San Mateo, Rizal) and father (from Laguna) are both Filipino natives.

“I saw the opening and landed it flush. I take nothing away from Pierre. He had a lot of heart. His output was impressive, although I felt that the majority of his punches were landing on my forearms and gloves.”

The fight wasn’t a complete loss, however; Tatlonghari was awarded the “Empire City Casino Punch of the Night” by the Daily News for his first-round knockdown.

Filipinos in the Golden Gloves is nothing new.

In 1993, Joe Quiambao won the 106-pound open title and now works as the matchmaker for New York City-based professional boxing promotional company Dibella Entertainment.

Then in 2000, Filipino-born Swedish citizen Rodrigo Pastor won the 119-pound novice Golden Gloves.

For Tatlonghari, boxing is a kind of hobby — albeit it an edgy, risky hobby — that allows him to vent from his high-pressure day job as a financial wholesaler for the investment giant Prudential in Newark, N.J.

When Tatlonghari isn’t trading punches with foes, he’s driving sales of mutual funds and building relationships with fellow financial professionals.

Tatlonghari graduated from the State University of New York (SUNY) with a degree in finance, but went to boxing school at the Ardon Sweet Science gym in Brooklyn.

He picked up the sport nine months ago to stay in shape and fell in love with it.

“I’ve been an athlete my entire life,” said Tatlonghari.

“When I was younger I was involved in martial arts, and all the usual — basketball, baseball, football and even rugby. I’ve always been a huge boxing fan. What Filipino isn’t with such stars as Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire?”

While disappointed with the result, Tatlonghari won’t allow himself any time to dwell on his defeat.

“Every fight is a lesson learned and it’s back to the gym this week,” Tatlonghari said.

 

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