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Fil-Aussies raring to root for ‘pacman’

Former Olympic coach and boxing champion Ricardo ‘Ric’ Fortaleza is currently at the forefront together with the bunch of Fil-Aussies in
throwing full support to our very own ‘Pambansang Kamao’ for the upcoming tussle tagged as “Battle of the Brisbane”.

Fortaleza, who immigrated to Australia in the early 2000, gathers a pack of Filipinos, as well as homegrown individuals residing in Blacktown,
Sydney , to show their colors in backing the fight of Manny Pacquiao against Jeff ‘The Hornet’ Horn on July 2. The eldest among the
four Fortaleza Fighters ,Rey, Rene and Roger, Ric didn’t waste time in meeting all the Filipino supporters in Blacktown for a worthy
cause. Like Manny, the 66- year-old boxing instructor and veteran of numerous international championships,
is a certified boxing excellence in his own rights.

The multi-titled pug has won gold in Tokyo in the 1969 First Asian Youth Championships, and a year later duplicate the feat by
crowning himself as the lone gold medalist in the 6th Asian Games in Bangkok.

Success continues to pour on Ricardo, the third among the brood of twelve, this time racking up a silver finish in the 1971 Asian
Boxing Championships held in Tehran.

He has represented Philippines in the 1972 Munich Olympics, where he succumbed to a 2nd round RSC (referee stopped contest
) from the hands of Alfonso Zamora of Mexico.

After topping the 1974 tryouts in Tehran, the Bachelor of Science in Education degree holder from Far Eastern University finally bid
goodbye to amateur boxing.

His illustrious career didn’t stop there despite hanging his gloves for good. He became the ring tactician of FEU and was named
official Philippine coach of the national team from 1976-1985.

Fortaleza even got the call to handle the Sultanate of Oman, where he honed two Omani boxers en route to representing their nation in
the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Three years later, he steered the RP team to 8 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze performance at the conclusion of 1991 Manila
SEA Games and extended his mentorship up to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, which is instrumental in guiding Roel Velasco to a bronze medal
haul.

It was the busiest decade for him as he led the RP team to President’s Cup in Bangkok, King’s Cup in Jakarta, SEA Games in Singapore, World
Boxing Championships in Belgrade, to name a few. Ricardo currently resides in Blacktown together with his wife Eliza and three children,
Richelle, Cherille and Eric ,where he teaches boxing.

His services was transported even in Chinese-Taipei, where he teaches Physical Education in college for four years.
Boxing will always be number one in his heart wherever he goes. He now considers Australia his second home and that’s the
main objective in uniting all the Filipinos there to cheer for Pacquiao.

(L-R) Antonio Cuyugan, Ariel Relayson, Alber Odisho, Jeremy Paton, Ricardo Fortaleza, Carlos Mamucod with their families

He was responsible in organizing a group photo, where most of the guys wear Pacquiao shirt and brandishing a closed fist that
resembles the trademark of President Rodrigo Duterte.