Former 122-pound titleholder Jhonatan Romero supports Colombian neighborhoods during COVID-19 crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed just short of 230,000 lives worldwide.
In the midst of these dangerous times, there are millions of people who work in the healthcare sector and other industries that deserve enormous credit for putting themselves at risk in order to help others.
While the figures for those infected in Colombia are reportedly low (6,211 cases and 278 deaths at time of writing), former IBF junior featherweight titleholder Jonathan Romero is well aware of the impact that lockdown is having in his home country.
“The crisis in Colombia is tough,” Romero told The Ring. “I know it is a worldwide crisis, and I’m sure we all feel it, but here in Colombia it’s tough because of the poverty, and people are relying on work when there is none. Many people create their own jobs by selling goods in the streets and they cannot go out.
“We are all locked down and you can only go out on certain days. It depends on what number your identification card ends on (if it ends on an odd number you can go out Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday and evens is Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday). If you go out on a day you are not supposed to you will get fined, and you cannot purchase anything as they check your ID before your purchase. In the poor neighborhoods it’s tough as the government’s help does not reach them.”
As a result, Romero is doing his bit to help those less fortunate.
“I just started with a friend, via social media and on foot, to help these poor neighborhoods get groceries,” he said. “I was able to get a special permit to allow me out on a daily basis. I have asked many athletes to help with the cause by donating as little as a pound of rice, sugar – anything is accepted.
“In these neighborhoods you identify who needs food because they put a red rag at their door. We get up every day now and purchase and distribute what we can.
“Soccer players [Dany Rosero Valencia and Daniela Henao] and Olympic athletes [Jhonny Renteria and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Ingrit Valencia] have sent groceries to help the cause. It has been tough as we have not been able to get all we need, but we are doing our part and asking others to help out. I have been doing this since last week, so I train when I can.”
Romero, 33, hasn’t fought since April 2018, but he intends to resume his career and is in talks with a promoter.
“At the start of the crisis I was able to do roadwork around the neighborhood but now I can’t,” said Romero. “I train at home: sit ups, pushups, I use home appliances for weights and shadowbox. I do this five days a week.
“[I stay active], watching movies, reading and just daydreaming of getting back in the ring.”
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright
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