Mansueto Velasco: From Olympic Boxer to Beloved Comedian

Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco Jr., born on January 10, 1974, in Bago City, Negros Occidental, Philippines, is a name that resonates with both sports enthusiasts and entertainment fans. Velasco’s journey from a bullied child to an Olympic silver medalist and later a celebrated comedian is nothing short of inspirational.

Velasco’s early life was marked by challenges. Growing up in a family that valued hard work, he learned the importance of perseverance and resilience. Initially, boxing was not his passion. He took up the sport to defend himself against bullies who targeted him due to his small stature. This decision would eventually lead him to the pinnacle of amateur boxing.

Competing in the light flyweight category, Velasco’s boxing career took off when he won a gold medal at the 1994 Asian Games. However, his most significant achievement came at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, where he clinched a silver medal. This was the only medal for the Philippines at those Games, and it cemented his status as a national hero. His Olympic journey included impressive victories over opponents from Taiwan, Cuba, Morocco, and Spain before losing to Bulgaria’s Daniel Petrov in the final.

Despite his success in the ring, Velasco faced financial challenges due to a lack of government support. This led him to retire from boxing and pursue a career in acting. His life and boxing career were immortalized in the 1997 film “The Onyok Velasco Story,” where he played himself. This marked the beginning of his successful career in the entertainment industry.

Velasco became a beloved figure in Philippine television, appearing in several sitcoms and comedy films. Notable among these was his role in the GMA 7 sitcom “Show Me Da Manny” and as a boxing trainer in the TV5 comedy-drama “Beki Boxer.” His transition from sports to entertainment showcased his versatility and endeared him to a broader audience.

Despite his achievements, Velasco’s story also highlights the unfulfilled promises of incentives for his Olympic success. While he received some monetary rewards, several pledges, including a significant amount from the House of Representatives, remained unfulfilled as of 2021.

Today, Velasco continues to contribute to the sport he once dominated. He works as a boxing consultant for the Philippine Sports Commission, sharing his knowledge and inspiring the next generation of athletes. His journey from a bullied child to an Olympic medalist and a beloved comedian serves as a testament to the power of perseverance and adaptability.

Mansueto Velasco’s life story is a powerful reminder that success is not just about talent but also about resilience, adaptability, and the courage to pursue new paths. His legacy continues to inspire many, proving that with determination, one can overcome any obstacle and achieve greatness in multiple fields.


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