Apolinar on helping Inoue prepare vs Donaire: Just purely work, nothing personal
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Omega Boxing Gym’s Pete “Thunder” Apolinar shrugged off critics including some Filipino boxing fans who bashed him for helping unbeaten Japanese boxing star Naoya Inoue prepare for his June 7 unification duel with Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr. in Japan.
Apolinar and world-rated prospect Kevin Jake Cataraja of Zip Sanman Boxing are in Japan for a month now as Inoue’s sparring partners.
Being Inoue’s sparring partners has drawn mixed reactions from Filipino boxing fans on social media, mostly criticizing them for helping the Japanese boxer instead of Donaire.
However, Apolinar just brushed aside the criticisms saying they’re only there for business and nothing more.
“We decided to ignore the bashers because they don’t know anything about these kinds of things because they’re not in the world of boxing, ” said Apolinar in Filipino. “Besides, if it had been champ Nonito (Donaire) who tapped our services then we’d be working with him. This is just purely work, nothing personal.”
The 27-year-old Apolinar who sports a record of 16 wins with 10 knockouts and two defeats is the current Oriental Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) super bantamweight champion.
In addition, he has been one of Inoue’s regular sparring partners every time the latter has an upcoming fight.
For Apolinar, his experience sparring with a boxing superstar like Inoue is a rare chance he can’t pass off. For him, he can learn a lot of important techniques and styles from sparring with a boxer of Inoue’s stature.
“We gain a lot of experience from him as a high-level boxer. He’s not just an ordinary boxer,” said Apolinar. “We’re honored to be invited to work with him because there are so many other boxers they could’ve gotten, but they chose us. We’re proud because we’re Filipinos. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s not often you get a chance like this and that’s priceless.”