Story and Photos by Jacob MacPherson
"Since the beginning, he has always wanted the best for me."
Like so many before him, Ranford Callao, 22, grew up idolizing Philippine professional boxer, Manny Pacquiao. Although he is the first in his family to box, Callao says he aspires to fight like Pacquiao and he has began pursuing the sport in hopes to establish the necessary skills to protect himself. Since moving to Calgary from Davao City, Philippines, in 2012 with his mother and two siblings, Callao has proven that boxing is something that he will pursue well into the future.
"He has always looked after me, and he is like a dad now."
As a member of Goldenstars, a Calgary based boxing team at Southpaw Boxing Gym, Callao has established himself as a top ranked Boxing Alberta amateur under coach Vlad Goldenstein. Callao says his father was absent during his childhood and while his mother is away working as a nurse in the U.S., coach Vlad is the father figure he never had growing up.
Amateur boxer Ranford Callao, middle, looks on as Goldenstars coach Vlad Goldenstein, right, teaches trapping techniques during a training session at Southpaw Boxing Gym in Calgary.
Professional boxer, Steve “the Dragon” Claggett, left, talks strategy with Callao after a training session at Southpaw Boxing Gym in Calgary on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020. Callao currently holds an amateur record of 9 wins and 3 losses.
Callao drives north on the Queen Elisabeth II Highway to compete in a Boxing Alberta amateur fight in St. Albert, Alta. This will be Callao’s last fight before the the Golden Gloves tournament which will be held at Southpaw Boxing Gym in Calgary on March 7.
Dr. Jim Adams, left, completes Callao's medical examination prior to a Boxing Alberta amateur fight at the St. Albert Inn. Dr. Adams is the head doctor for Boxing Alberta and has sat ringside for the past 34 years.
"Win or lose, I don't care. It is all about experience."
Callao, right, lands a left jab on his opponent, Max Hines during a Boxing Alberta amateur fight at St. Albert Inn. This is Callao's first fight traveling without his team and coach Vlad in his corner.
Callao removes his hand wraps after defeating Max Hines by judges decision during a Boxing Alberta amateur fight at the St. Albert Inn. Callao now holds an amateur record of 10 wins and 3 losses.
Coach Vlad, centre, looks on as Callao practices striking techniques during a training session at Southpaw Boxing Gym, in Calgary. Callao is training to fight for the Boxing Alberta championship at the Golden Gloves tournament in Calgary on March 7.
Coach Vlad prepares Callao's hands prior to the championship fight during Boxing Alberta’s Golden Gloves tournament at Southpaw Boxing gym in Calgary.
Callao has his arms raised in victory during Boxing Alberta’s Golden Gloves tournament at Southpaw Boxing Club in Calgary. Callao defeated Dylan Clark by split-decision to become the 69 kg Elite Open 2020 Golden Gloves champion.
Callao embraces with Norm Williams, 87, of Beaumont Boxing Club, following his championship fight. Callao plans to be back in the gym within days of the win to begin preparing for the upcoming nation tournament in Montreal scheduled for August.