City Council Cites Whitmore’s Ceon For Boxing Prowess

Jessica Goolsby
Wednesday - June 16, 2010
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Coach Carl Phillips (left), City Councilman Donovan Dela Cruz, John Hansley Ceon with mom Rowena Cabello, brother Mark, sister Treshlyne and grandmother Soledad. Photo from the City Council.

The 2009 Ringside World Championship tournament held in Kansas City, Mo., last August attracted more than 1,300 competitors, offering amateur boxers worldwide the opportunity to compete for a title in various age and weight categories. Whitmore Village teenager John Hansley Ceon was just one of many, but he rose above - winning the Boys 15-16 Novice Blue Division Title in the 106-pound weight class.

Seventeen-year-old Ceon was honored in April of this year by City Councilman Donovan Dela Cruz and the City Council for his accomplishments.

“John trains three hours a day, five days a week and more as it gets closer to an event, and it’s obvious that his hard work paid off,” said Carl Phillips, Ceon’s boxing coach for the past three-anda-half years.“He was just 16 when he took that title.”

Ceon started boxing in 2006, moving from Waipahu Gym to Wahiawa Gym for training when his family moved to the area. From the get-go, Phillips saw potential in the young Filipino and helped him groom his talents for national competitions.

“We (his family and I) had him under strict guidelines such as keeping his grades up and working hard on his skills and conditioning if he wanted to compete on the national level,” Phillips said. “He entered his first bout at the 2008 national P.A.L.

Tournament at Oxnard, Calif., where he placed third in his weight class. It was there that he gained his first real experience, and it made him a better boxer.”

Prior to the Kansas City competition Ceon had only two fights under his belt, but with the help of his coach, trained hard and won the title, bringing honor not only to his name, but to his family, his gym and his community.

“He’s really proven himself over the years, and I’m happy to see all he’s accomplished,” Phillips said.

Ceon’s next goal was the 2009 Ringside World Championship Tournament, where he took first and proved to his mentor his true talent. “I was very proud of him, because here in Hawaii our boys are very limited in terms of local competition.”

Ceon also competed May 3-8 at the National Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament in Little Rock, Ark., where he drew a bye on the first day in the 108-pound weight division and then lost a close decision to ranked Santos Vasquez from Nevada.

“I took eight kids to that tournament, and they all did pretty well,“Phillips said, noting that Atone Pereira (165-pound weight division) and Michael Uemoto (132-pound weight division) of the Wahiawa club also stood out.“But bottom line is, you can’t win them all.

“I’m just proud of my boys, because some of the fights came down to really close decisions - little technicalities that cost them the win,” he added.“Either way, as the crowd clearly showed (via applause), our kids walked away with a lot more respect than they went there with.”

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