Hector Manzanilla: “It never crossed my mind to be a coach”

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Hector Manzanilla: “It never crossed my mind to be a coach”
Hector Manzanilla: "It never crossed my mind to be a coach". Photo: Jesús Milano

On Gabriel Maestre and Yoel Finol‘s team there is a key character. Hector Manzanilla is a former Venezuelan boxer who has made the leap as coach and is based in Barranquilla with several fighters under his tutelage.

Accompanied by Jorge Zerpa, he is part of the corner of his compatriots. Maestre will debut on July 6 at the Coliseo Sugar Baby Rojas against Jeovanis the “Meke” Barraza and Finol will do the same against Anuar Salas.

Manzanilla was one of the most technical boxers of his generation and transferred the alias of El Capitán to Maestre, who today occupies that position in the national team of his country. The young coach has a great responsibility and he assumes it with all the effort that the it requires.

“I am proud to work with these two elite boxers. They are world-renowned fighters and I am proud to be on their work team”, said the Venezuelan.

In his few years of work, he has had several experiences and has worked in high level fights, opportunities that Manzanilla is grateful for.

“I retired in 2012 and after that I started as a coach thanks to Gilberto Mendoza and Gilberto Jesús Mendoza, who gave me the opportunity. My career is short but I have already worked with world champions and I have been in very important fights. I always thank those who gave me that opportunity”, he said.

The Venezuelan always wanted to be involved in boxing, but he admits that being a coach was something that he never considered until they proposed it to him. Before that, he tried to contribute being president of the boxing federation of his country, but he couldn’t achieve it.

“I never wanted to be a coach. I didn’t think of being a boxing coach but life surprises you. I wanted to contribute and be a recognized leader in Venezuela. I wanted to get to the Federation but things did not happen in those elections. Later, I worked at the Ministry but I could not get to an office and Gilberto gave me this opportunity, and everything I do I do it with a lot of professionalism and responsibility”, said Manzanilla.

His pupil, Gabriel Maestre, will debut in professional boxing in a 10-round fight, a situation that the Colombian press has viewed with skepticism. However, for the Venezuelan coach it is not uncommon and he assured that, for him, amateur and professional boxing don’t have so many differences.

“Boxing is boxing. It has some different rules but this is the same, throwing punches, defending, walking, training and trying to win. There have already been changes in amateur boxing to make it look more like professional boxing. I see that the World Boxing Association has big projects for the integration of both branches and I know that both can coexist in this new stage. For me, it is very fruitful, said the Venezuelan.


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