Thursday, March 30, 2023  |



Genesis Servania: ‘I want to bring the championship back to the Philippines’

Fighters Network

MANILA, Philippines – It’s been two years since Genesis Servania made up his mind to pack up his gloves and leave the Philippines for Japan. It was not an easy decision to leave the only homeland he had ever known to start over. To hear him tell it, it was the only choice he had if he was going to keep his career going.

Why would an undefeated boxer, ranked No. 2 in his weight class, want to walk away?

“I got discouraged because there were some issues in the team,” Servania said through a translator, while not mentioning the specific problems he had when promoted by the Philippine-based ALA Promotions. ALA president Michael Aldeguer had said at the time that Servania showed up to training camp overweight and refused to schedule a fight for him.

“It got to the point where I wanted to stop. I had almost decided to quit boxing.”

Instead, Servania followed the advice of famed Japanese matchmaker Joe Koizumi and joined the Kashimi Gym in Kanazawa, Japan.

Now Servania (29-0, 12 knockouts) has the chance to prove he has the stuff of champions this Friday when he faces Oscar Valdez (22-0, 19 KOs) for the WBO featherweight title at the Convention Center in Tucson, Arizona. Valdez, of Nogales, Mexico, is making his third title defense, and is one of Top Rank’s potential breakout stars of the new generation.

It’s a steep challenge, but one Servania feels ready for.

“I respect [Valdez] because he’s a world champion. But I feel very confident taking him on, and they’ll all see that in the ring,” said Servania, who is trained by fellow former ALA boxer Mark Gil Melligen.

“I’m hoping for a knockout. I’ve trained really hard for this and I’m so excited and eager to go.”

Servania, 26, has had no easy road to Tucson. He grew up in Bacolod City, Philippines, and dropped out of high school at the age of 15 to work as a tricycle driver to help his parents support their family of seven. He turned pro at the age of 17 with no amateur experience and learned on the job.

(READ: Servania fights for family as well as career)

Unless you paid close attention to the local Philippine scene, it’d be easy for Servania to fly below your radar. But despite his lack of amateur credentials, his maturity and work rate made him one of the country’s top prospects.

Despite having just a 41 percent knockout rate, he showed serious power in his knockouts of Rafael Concepcion and former titleholder Alexander Munoz. He showed heart in getting off the floor against Konosuke Tomiyama in 2013, but also that he could easily be hit when he gives in to his brawling instincts.

Servania has won three fights since relocating to Japan against relatively unknown fighters, winning two eight-round decisions and a second-round technical knockout. But he likes his new home, where he says the pressure on him is less and the sparring is world class.

He has yet to think about how a world title win would change his life. But it’d sure make his return to his homeland more grand.

“I can’t describe what it will be, but I will definitely do everything to win the fight,” said Servania.

“I want to bring the championship back to the Philippines.”