Marvin Somodio’s success story

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  • SAN FRANCISCO – If the legendary boxing trainer Eddie Futch has the similarly great Freddie Roach as successor, the now seven-time trainer of the year has his in Filipino protégé Marvin Somodio.
    Somodio, who left his town in Iloilo at age 12, landed in Baguio City to finish high school, continued to pursue a civil engineering degree, but ended up assistant trainer to Freddie Roach of the world renowned Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles.
    After working at Wild Card for seven years, helping his boss nurture his very popular compatriot Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto, among others, Somodio now owns the Combinations Boxing Academy in search of new talents in the hope of making them champions.
    The Somodio school of boxing stands on a lot along Hawthorne Boulevard in Lawndale City, south of Los Angeles County, and will officially be inaugurated on Saturday, July 27.
    To serve the purpose, Marvin and his business partner Brendan O’reilly equipped the 4,000-square feet structure with two boxing rings, free sets of barbells, a pair of thread mills, stationary bikes, a mobile sauna, three double end balls, four speed balls and eight heavy bags.
    “From the time I set foot in the U.S. and started working with coach Freddie, increasing my knowledge in training fighters, I already entertained the idea of putting up a gym,” Somodio told this writer in an interview during dull moments in Pacquiao’s training for his fight with erstwhile undefeated Keith Thurman.
    “I want to maximize my potential as a trainer, learned from coach Freddie by way of searching for young talents, all of which I learned from coach Freddie and develop them to become world champions,” the now 35-year-old averred.
    The gym, according to Marvin, will also be opened to those looking to develop competitive boxing skills, or possibly looking to learn how to box for self-defence.
    “But most importantly, sana maka-discover din tayo ng Filipino-Americans here, who we can develop, to represent our country in the different international competitions,” he added.
    “Who knows, baka dito natin makita ang first Filipino Olympic gold medallist na matagal nang pangarap ng ating mga kababayan,” Marvin said with glow in his eyes.
    Besides coming back to L. A. to oversee preparations for the Combinations Boixing Academy, Somodio was actually hired by the eight-division champion as one of chief trainer Buboy Fernandez’s assistants specifically for the Thurman fight.
    Marvin, who Roach plucked from Cooyesan Hotel’s Shape Up Boxing Gym in Baguio, brought him to L.A. 2012 to be his understudy, had been staying in the Philippines for a few months with wife Melissa and two children when Pacquiao took him.
    In his seven-year stint at Wild Card, Somodio has been a permanent fixture at the Vine Street sweat shop, helping Roach handle high-profile clients. Marvin did some of his best work in recent years with, besides Pacquiao and Cotto, Filipino Brian Villoria, Ruslan Provodnikov, Victor Postol, Jose Ramirez and Dennis Levedev, to mention a few.
    He may not have become a household name like ring icon and senator Pacquiao or Nonito Donaire but Somodio has also achieved much from humble beginnings.
    As an engineering student, he became a member of University of Baguio’s boxing team. He was a member of the former Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines national training pool for four years.
    Somodio joined the Shape Up boxing stable of Cooyesan Hotel owner Anson Tiu Co where he was discovered by Roach, who took him under his tutelage.(EDDIE G. ALINEA)

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