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Mayor Prevents Eviction Of Olympic Medal-Winning Boxer’s Family

September 28, 1988

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Officials paid the back rent of a Filipino boxer to prevent the family of the country’s first Olympic medal winner in 24 years from being evicted from their apartment.

Divina Serantes told The Manila Chronicle that her husband, Leopoldo Serantes, had so much on his mind that he left the family without a cent when he departed for Seoul, South Korea, to compete in the Summer Olympics.

″Pol really left nothing behind,″ Mrs. Serantes said, referring to her husband by his nickname. She said the family, including three children, was three months’ behind in its rent.

On Tuesday, Manila Mayor Mel Lopez sent an aide to the Serantes family with enough money to pay the rent, the newspaper said.

Serantes, an army sergeant, stopped Majjoub M’Jirih of Morocco in the third round of their 105-pound class fight on Tuesday, assuring the Philippines of its first medal in regular Olympic competition since 1964.

Serantes, who is assured of a bronze medal, tries for the silver on Thursday when he goes against Ivailo Hristov of Bulgaria.

The Philippines’ last Olympic medal was a silver won by Anthony Villanueva in the featherweight division in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

With Tuesday’s victory, the Serantes family should have fewer financial worries. By clinching at least a bronze, Serantes is assured of an $18,500 bonus from a group of Filipino businessmen.

They have promised more if Serantes takes the gold medal.

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