The World Boxing Council immediately expressed its sympathy felt after learning a long-time supporter of the boxing Laura Sarreal-Elorde died at the age of 92 at her home in Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines.
Elorde, widow of the late WBC and WBA junior lightweight champion Gabriel “Flash” Elorde and the daughter of the “Grand Old Man” of Philippine boxing, the late Lope “Papa” Sarreal.
The matriarch of Philippine boxing passed away when she succumbed to pneumonia and declared dead 2:33 a.m. on Sunday morning (Saturday in the US) at family’s ancestral home inside the Elorde Compound where she was laid in state for few days.
On Wednesday, Elorde buried at the famous Manila Memorial Park beside her husband Flash Elorde’s tomb.
She was survived by six living of seven children: Gabriel “Bebot”, Johnny, Theresa, Marty, Rita and Cucuy. Their eldest daughter Malou passed away at 59 years old on March 7, 2015 in Las Vegas. She also left behind 21 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
The WBC, headed by president Mauricio Sulaiman, was one of the first websites that broke out the news with an article titled “WBC mourns the passing of Laura Elorde” in English and “WBC lamenta el fallecimiento de Laura Elorde” in Spanish in its official website and declared a week of mourning.
“The WBC has declared a week of mourning in the memory of Laura Elorde,” Sulaiman was quoted as saying to RingMagazine’s scribe Ryan Songalia.
“To learn of the passing of Laura Elorde is a very sad moment for the boxing world.”
In the last 10 years, Ms. Elorde was honored at least twice by the World Boxing Council (WBC). Her latest award was given during the Gala Dinner and Awards Night of 3rd World Boxing Council (WBC) Women’s Convention and Asian Summit at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Manila in 2018.
She attended the 49th annual WBC Convention at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada where sanctioning body officials recognized her attendance. She also personally received an award on behalf of her late husband, Flash Elorde.
Elorde, the longest junior lightweight world champion in history, became the first Asian inducted into the New York-based International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993. He died in 1985 at the age of 49 after losing in his fight with lung cancer.
Laura’s father, Papa Sarreal, who handled Flash Elorde’s illustrious career, was also enshrined in the International “Hall of Fame” in Canastota, New York as well as the “Hall of Fame” in Los Angeles.
Her remains will be lied in state at Holy Trinity in Sucat Road, Paranaque. Interment is set on Wednesday, May 6, beside the tomb of Flash Elorde at Manila Memorial Cemetery in front of the Elorde Sports Complex.
Sarreal was instrumental in introducing boxing in Asia. He introduced boxing in China and Indonesia and credited for opening the Asian market to professional boxing after he installed big-time boxing in Korea, Thailand and Japan.
Flash Elorde held the world titles at the 130-pound division from 1960 to 1967 by knocking out American Harold Gomes and losing it by 15-round decision to Japan’s Yoshiaki Numata.
The Elordes, the most respected supporter family of the sport in the Philippines, have the most branches of commercial boxing gyms in the southeast Asian country. They manage boxers and promotes boxing shows in the country and other parts of Asia.
Sulaiman believe Mrs. Elorde left her own legacy.
“This is a great ending of a great cycle but is certainly the beginning of Elorde legacy of eternity,” Sulaiman told Songalia. “Flash Elorde is one of the greatest champions in boxing history and Elorde family is one of the greatest families in our sport.”
The brash WBC president commented the two eldest sons of Elorde couple for their continued involvement in the business.
“Our hearts goes to Johnny, Bebot and all members of of such united love giving family,” he said.
Sulaiman’s memory on Mrs. Elorde’s character and contribution.
“I had a great honor to spend many happy moments with Mrs. Elorde, a strong, powerful woman who was the leader of Elorde family,” Sulaiman said. “She kept them united, a sensational leader who believed in the power of love.”