Genisis “Cobra” Librabza proudly displays one of his champion’s belts. (File photo sourced from Richard Pineda’s Facebook post. )

By Monette Eustella M. Sa
EPS-II, Cabadbaran City Division

Boxing, often called the “manly art of self-defence, the two-fisted combat sport of the toughest,” has immortalized the likes of Muhammad Ali, Rocky Marciano, Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather, and of course, Manny Paquiao. This glorified sport made them famous and wealthy beyond imagination, something that so many younger generations have tried to emulate and build dreams on.

Genesis Lagumbay Libranza is no exception.

Known as Cobra in the boxing world, he was born in Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur on September 27, 1993. He spent most of his growing up years in Cabadbaran City where he completed both his elementary and secondary education. He went to college at Caraga State University-Cabadbaran Campus, but his dream of becoming a professional boxer drove him to move to Davao City where he trained under MP Promotions, a company owned by Manny Pacquiao. His trainer, Nonoy Neri, is one of Pacquiao’s conditioning coaches.

In January 2019, he was scheduled to fight in the undercard of Pacquiao vs. Broner bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. But Cobra’s fight was cancelled because his Nicaragoan opponent Carlos Buitrago failed to make the 116-pound weight limit.

Nonetheless, his dream of fighting in the US did not end there. Just a few weeks after, Cobra got a chance to fight in the undercard of another high-profile WBA super featherweight championship fight between Gervonta Davis and Hugo Ruiz. On February 9 (February 10, Philippine time), at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, Cobra imposed his will on Gilberto Mendoza, beating the Mexican via unanimous decision in an 8-round contest. Cobra said it was the toughest fight he had ever fought so far.

Cobras’ excellent performance has opened for him more opportunities to fight in the US in the future as he is gradually making a name for himself in the boxing world. He now holds a record of 18-1 with 10 knockouts.

During an interview with him last February 18, 2019 at Loreta Venue and Resto in Cabadbaran City, he shared some words of wisdom for the young athletes of Caraga. “Athletes should keep their focus and always think positive.  They’ve   already trained so all they need to do is to implement their game plans,” he said.  “Avoid negative thinking and any form of distraction.  When the opponent treats you as the underdog, use it to prove them wrong,” he added.

What’s so remarkable about Libranza’s work ethic is that, aside from his dogged determination and discipline, he remained humble despite his numerous achievements in and outside the ring. Indeed, he is an inspiration to Caraganons.