Gabriel Elorde

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This article is about Gabriel "Flash" Elorde. For the boxer who is nicknamed "The Filipino Flash", see Nonito Donaire.
Flash Elorde
Real name Gabriel Elorde
Nickname(s) Flash
Rated at Junior Lightweight
Height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Reach Template:Reach68inches (173cm)
Nationality Philippines Filipino
Born (1935-03-25)March 25, 1935
Bogo City, Cebu, Philippines
Died January 2, 1985(1985-01-02) (aged 49)
Stance Southpaw
Boxing record
Total fights 116
Wins 88
Wins by KO 33
Losses 26
Draws 2

Flash Elorde (born Gabriel Elorde; March 25, 1935 – January 2, 1985) was a Filipino professional boxer. He was born and raised in the town of Bogo, Cebu.

Elorde was a World Junior Lightweight Champion, he won the title in 1960. In 1963, he was inaugurated as WBC and WBA champion. He still holds the junior lightweight division record for longest title reign, and is considered as the greatest junior lightweight champion in history. It spanned for seven years, and in doing-so he legitimized the division. Elorde is considered as one of the greatest Filipino boxers of all-time along with eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao and flyweight champion in the 1920s, Pancho Villa. He was much beloved in the Philippines as a sports and cultural icon, being the first Filipino international boxing champion since middleweight champion Ceferino Garcia.

Fighting style[edit]

A southpaw, Flash Elorde was known for his boxing skills and speed. Writer Robert Lipsyte once described his style as the "subtle little temple-dancer moves".

Early life[edit]

Gabriel Elorde was born in the town of Bogo, Cebu. The youngest of 15 children, he came from a poor family.

Elorde finished only the 3rd grade of his elementary education and was forced to drop out due to extreme poverty. He then began to work as a bearer of bowling balls and, beside this, as a carpenter.

His love for boxing came from a friend, Lucio Laborte, a former professional boxer. Laborte taught him how to box, and Elorde quickly learned the sport and pursued his dream to become a boxer. At the time he was only 16 years old.

Professional career[edit]

Flash Elorde knocks down Harold Gomes during their March 16, 1960 world title fight.

Elorde made his professional debut at the age of 16 on June 16, 1951, against Kid Gonzaga. The bout was held in Cebu, Philippines. The boxing newcomer stopped his foe in the 4th round.

Within a year, Elorde was able to win the national bantamweight title. His potential was evident: he was a solidly built southpaw whose major asset were his quick hands and relentless body attack on his opponents.

In his first 14 fights he suffered 2 defeats and 1 draw before coming into his own. He defeated Tanny Campo and Hiroshi Horiguchi both in 12 round decisions to win the Philippine and Asian bantamweight titles. He also outpointed all time great featherweight champion Sandy Saddler in 1955 in a non-title bout.

In 1956, he was given a rematch with Saddler, this time with Saddler's featherweight title on the line. However, Elorde suffered a cut in his eye and lost the fight on a 13th round TKO. Many boxing experts criticized Saddler, known as a very rough and vicious fighter, for the result of the bout. Jack Fiske of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: "It was a dirty fight throughout and all the onus must be on the 126-pound champion's skinny shoulders. From this corner it appeared highly improbable that he could have successfully defended the title ... if he hadn't resorted to all the so-called tricks in and out of the rule book."[1]

He won the world super featherweight title on March 16, 1960 by knocking out the defending world champion Harold Gomes in seven rounds. That night, Elorde ended the country’s 20-year world championship drought. The crowd estimated to be around 30,000, inside the newly built Araneta Coliseum, rushed into the ring after seeing Gomes go down to his knees at the one minute and 50 seconds mark of the seventh round. The event happened two decades after compatriot Ceferino Garcia, known as the father of the ‘bolo punch’, lost the middleweight division he lorded over until 1940.

Elorde floored Gomes in the second round with a right hook to the head. The Filipino challenger knocked down the 25-year-old Gomes again in the third and in the fifth, sending him over the ring’s lower rope at the end of the round. In the next round, Gomes mounted a brief comeback, but at the start of the seventh, Elorde hammered him again, connecting with rights to the head followed by a left to the jaw that sent him down once more. Gomes got up but was floored again after receiving a combination of lefts and rights. He then met a series of combinations that led the referee Barney Ross to count him out. When Gomes recovered, he went to Elorde’s corner and whispered: “It was a good fight.”[2]

He defended the crown 10 times until June 15, 1967 where he lost a majority decision to Yoshiaki Numata of Japan. This made him the longest reigning world junior lightweight champion ever (seven years and three months).

Elorde also challenged lightweight Carlos Ortiz for his world title on two occasions. He was stopped both times by Ortiz in the 14th round.

Elorde retired with a record of 88 wins (33 KOs), 27 losses and 2 draws. He is considered the greatest super featherweight champion of all time in WBC history.[3]

Outside the ring[edit]

After his retirement, Elorde remained in the Philippines within the public eye. He was a prominent commercial endorser, especially for San Miguel Beer. In fact, his San Miguel Beer TV commercial (together with Bert Marcelo and Rico J. Puno), wherein he famously said the words ".... isang platitong mani" (one plate of peanuts), was recently named as the No.1 Filipino advertisement of all time. Another commercial showed him saying the popular line "Wag namang bara-bara, Bay."


Elorde died of lung cancer on January 2, 1985 at 6:30 p.m. local time. He was 49.[4]


In 1993, he became the first Asian inducted into the New York-based International Boxing Hall of Fame. He was also enshrined into the World Boxing Hall of Fame. Elorde's father-in-law, Lope Sarreal, one of Asia's most prominent boxing promoters, was later inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Elorde was also voted the 78th best fighter by the Ring Magazine's writers in 2002 when the Ring Magazine's list of the 80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years was released.

On March 25, 2010, Elorde's family, headed by his widow Laura, commemorated his 25th death anniversary and 75th birth anniversary. They also celebrated his historical win against defending WBA junior-lightweight champion Harold Gomes that ended the RP’s 20-year world championship drought.

Filipino boxers Brian Viloria, Donnie Nietes, Rodel Mayol, Marvin Sonsona and Gerry Peñalosa received an award for their contributions. Z Gorres also attended the event. Manny Pacquiao was also a special guest in the ceremony.[2][5] The Gabriel "Flash" Elorde Memorial Boxing Awards & Banquet was launched in 2000 honoring the former and current boxers in the Philippines living or posthimously celebrating their victories throughout held every year.

Personal life[edit]

He was married to Laura Elorde. His sons Gabriel Jr. (Bebot), Marty and Johnny went into the world of boxing as promoters and managers. His daughters, as well as the rest of his family have been in the boxing industry since the death of the great "Flash". As a family, they have expanded the Elorde name into becoming a brand. They have made merchandise and gyms throughout the country. International endeavors are still being considered.

Elorde, together with his wife, Laura, all in all have seven children. Through this, 20 grandchildren have sprung, as well as 9 great-grandchildren ( Michael, Laurence, Ivan, Theresa, Tyrene, Grachel, Bai, Tegan, Miguel, Elouise, Garren, Ian, Juan Nicholas, Tabitha, Jordan Konstantine, Timothy, Joshua, Alec, Alexis, Francheska). Elorde has two grandsons named Juan Martin "Bai" Elorde and Juan Miguel "Migs" Elorde, who are also professional boxers.[6] One of his grandsons, Jordan Konstantine Elorde, is also training to become a professional boxer. His other grandson Nico Elorde is currently playing college basketball in the UAAP for the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

In popular culture[edit]

The Elorde Sports Center in Parañaque was founded in 1983 (two years before his death in 1985) was dedicated to him. It hosts boxing matches and future fights.

Author James Ellroy, an avid boxing fan, named a character in his novel American Tabloid after Elorde.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Graham Houston (2008-06-27). "The five finest fighters to emerge from the Philippines". 
  2. ^ a b Eddie Alinea (2010-03-24). "The night ‘Flash’ boxed his way to glory". 
  3. ^ WBC Hall of Fame
  4. ^ "Flash Elorde: Greatest Pinoy boxer". GMANews.TV. 03-04-2010.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ Marlon Bernardino (2010-03-26). "Bongbong, Pacman Lead Guests and Awardees at 10th Elorde Awards Banquet". 
  6. ^ Liza Elorde: Flash Elorde Saved His Grandson Bai

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Harold Gomes
World Junior Lightweight Champion
March 16, 1960 – February 16, 1963
Became inaugural champion
for WBC & WBA
Inaugural Champion WBC Junior Lightweight Champion
WBA Junior Lightweight Champion

February 16, 1963 – June 15, 1967
Succeeded by
Yoshiaki Numata

Match History[edit]

88 Wins (33 knockouts, 56 decisions), 26 Losses (4 knockout, 22 decisions), 2 Draws
Result Opponent Type Rd., Time Date Location Notes
Loss Japan Hiroyuki Murakami UD 10 1971-05-20 Japan Tokyo
Win Japan Shunkichi Suemitsu UD 10 1971-04-01 Philippines Metro Manila, Manila
Win Japan Isao Ichihara KO 6(10) 1971-02-14 Philippines Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City, Metro Manila
Loss Japan Isao Ichihara UD 10 1970-12-18 Guam Recreation Center, Agana
Win Japan Tatsunao Mitsuyama UD 10 1970-10-31 Philippines Davao City, Davao
Win Mexico Chico Andrade TKO 5(10) 1970-08-28 Philippines Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City, Metro Manila
Win Japan Kenji Iwata UD 10 1970-06-27 Philippines Metro Manila, Manila
Win Japan Isao Ichihara KO 9(10) 1970-05-16 Philippines Metro Manila, Manila
Win Thailand Munchai Rorfortor TKO 5(10), 2:54 1970-03-01 Philippines Metro Manila, Manila