boxing

Undefeated Filipino boxer Rey Caitom Jr.’s journey from Cebu to Singapore

Rey Caitom Jr. (©David Ash)

Rey Caitom Jr. (©David Ash)

Rey “The Future” Caitom Jr., 33, of the Philippines teased the boxing world with consecutive national titles at youth level and an undefeated professional boxing streak before announcing his retire at age 20 to fulfil his scholarship and achieve his life goal of building a house for his family. Having accomplished that and more, he is back to finish what he started.

When Caitom was 12 years old and was in his second amateur year, he won his first national championship. The following year, he stepped up in the 13-and-up category and claimed five consecutive titles, beating boys up to three years his senior in the process.

Hailing from Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines, Caitom started his professional career as impressively, notching a professional boxing record of 6 wins, 0 loss and 1 draw. He loved boxing and he was brilliant at it but his family always came first.

The Mandaue City native knew there was more money to be made outside the ring if he played it right. So a year into his professional career, he retired at 20 years old to further his studies on a scholarship he earned with his national championships.

Upon graduation, Caitom took on a coaching job at the prestigious ALA Gym where he coached professional boxers including former International Boxing Federation light flyweight world champion Milan Melindo, 31, of the Philippines and regional champ Czar “Czar of Bohol” Amonsot, 30, of the Philippines and Australia. For extra income, Caitom coached fitness at ALA’s branches after hours.

In 2010, Caitom moved to Singapore on an offer from Vanda gym who were impressed by his track record as a competitor and coach. He lived as he boxed with resolute focus and discipline.

Despite the generous pay hike, Caitom continued to save and sacrifice, spending only on bare necessities and his family. With his coaching career and housing goal well on track, the competitor that lay dormant in him began to stir.

Dreams of a world title played in Caitom’s head as he was as worthy a contender as any he coached. He handed in a request to represent Vanda as a pro boxer but the gym declined as he was too valuable a trainer, which was a blow but he took it in his stride and continued to excel in his role.

After eight years, Caitom’s family home in Cebu had long been built and had even undergone refurbishment. Finally, he felt that he had enough financial reserve to leave his day job and secured Juggernaut Fight Club’s Arvind Lalwani as his coach and manager.

It was time to return from retirement and settle unfinished business. After 12 years out of competitive boxing, Caitom knew that he had to ease himself back into form.

Consequently, the undefeated Filipino boxer broke from sheer exhaustion and wanted to quit. This was after a month of juggling work and training, waking up at 5:30 a.m, to run before work, training and sparring through lunchtime before fishing up with private training sessions at 10 p.m., cycling between venues the whole way.

The next day, Caitom was back at it, driven by his determination to succeed. He soon conditioned his body for the demanding routine, but it would take another seven months before he was ready for his comeback.

In November 2018, Caitom won his comeback fight by unanimous decision. He followed that up seven months later with a perfect performance at the Singapore Fighting Championship event “SFC 7: Eight Limbs” to beat his far more experienced opponent by technical knockout.

On September 28, 2019, Caitom Rey will contend the World Boxing Council Asian Boxing Council minimumweight title at “SFC 8: Renegades of Fight” at the Foochow Building in Singapore. For him, it is just another day on the job, a necessary step towards a world title.

Meanwhile, here is a clip featuring the undefeated Filipino boxer from Mandaue City:

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