Stotsenberg Hotel & Convention Center, Clarkfield, Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines
Win | UD
Roman Canto is a boxer who’s been training practically his whole life. In fact, he a boxer for who boxing has been his whole life.
He was born in January 11 1990 in Iloilo in a mountain province, far away from any big city lights and without too many opportunities at his fingertips, definitely no silver spoons within the vicinity of this young boy’s mouth. His parents were separated when he was very young and he never got the chance to meet them, leaving him to be raised by his paternal grandparents, a pretty spartan childhood where he learned to be humble and appreciative, and came away with the simple adage that “life is hard.”
However, good things do sometimes happen to good people, and he was blessed to have always had people who were prepared to go out of their way to try to help. He always had a work ethic, helping out with carrying wood for his grandparents’ charcoal-making business, as well as also always willing to live up to his end of any bargain he entered into.
He started going to the gym early, at just 10 years old, as part of a deal with a well-meaning local benefactor, a friend of the family, who agreed to sponsor his education by paying for his scholarship fees so long as he stuck to the boxing. As well as training, he fought non-stop in the ring, nearly every day five times a week, developing his craft as he was growing up, making boxing an innate characteristic. There was never any different dream or career aspirations; he always just wanted to be a boxer. He was raised on dreams of becoming a boxing champion.
His grandmother died when he was just 11 years old, and in 2009, when Roman was just the tender age of 19, his grandfather died, leaving him alone and unprotected. However, his good nature appealed to a well-meaning couple who had a passion for boxing, friends of the family, who adopted him and brought him to Manila to live in Quezon City. He got himself into a gym and trained hard, making some money on the side by training people while also continuing to work hard carrying containers of fish in a nearby factory. He still hasn’t had a chance to go back and visit his old province ever since he left.
He threw himself into a life of boxing, having almost 40 amateur fights over the next twelve months, getting some sort of compensation by way of a little bit of food for the night, or traveling expenses, or a paltry 50 pesos. He was soon picked up by the Philippine Team (not the national team), and had 8 fights over the next year or so, winning 6 and losing 2, before things got a little complicated; basically the team had too many fighters which meant his chances were limited and he wasn’t fighting as much as he wanted to; for a born and raised boxer, there can be no worse scenario.
He left and was soon picked up by Team Insider, turning pro in the process, while also training people at the gym as part of his work. He went on to have 15 fights for this team, winning a credible 9, losing 4 and having one draw. However, he lost a crucial one at the end, in Indonesia, when he got knocked out in the 2nd round; his coaches were incensed and let him know it, meaning that he lost belief in the team and ended up walking away.
He trained on his own for a year, running in the streets, hopping from gym to gym in order to scrounge some sparring work to keep himself fight-sharp, and never gave up. He kept on and showed the determination he has always shown as a young kid, displaying the ability to be flexible and switch up to adjust to his living condition and changing current situation, always keeping his eye on the main prize; his goal has always been to be a world champion, and he refuses to be dissuaded or to stray from that path, no matter what happens to him out of the ring.
Like we’ve said before, good things tend to happen to good people, and his old friend Glen Ranillo brought him with him to his new gym, Old Skool MMA, where he came to the attention of Divest Media, who jumped at the chance to sponsor him. He has grabbed this new chance with gusto, seizing the opportunity to train, train, and then train some more.
It’s been a hard life, full of hurdles and trials and tribulations, but he has always forged on ahead, refusing to let any obstacles deter him from his dreams; this is the stuff that world champions are made of.
Follow the trials and tribulations of our very own Divest Media Cage Gladiators, Filipino street warriors who we follow on the Road To Glory.