Filipino boxing great 'Earthquake' Luisito Espinosa gets life back on track in Hong Kong
Former two-time world champion from the Philippines is now a respected coach in town after washing dishes and stocking shelves in the US
Just a year ago, legendary Filipino boxer Luisito Espinosa was a down-and-out former champion struggling to make ends meet, but the fighter nicknamed Lindol, or “Earthquake”, is making a comeback of sorts – and he has Hong Kong to thank.
“Hong Kong is my home. I like this city,” said the two-time former world champion. “Before it was bad for me, but I have a new job and things are looking up.”
Espinosa, who ruled the featherweight division during the 1990s and became famous before the emergence of compatriot Manny Pacquiao, has put the worst of times behind him.
Before moving to Hong Kong, where he is a boxing instructor at Everlast gym, the 48-year-old was doing menial jobs in the US – stocking shelves at a supermarket, flipping burgers in the kitchen and washing dishes.
The future looked hopeless until he received his calling in Hong Kong.
“It’s the first time I have been to Hong Kong and it’s all good now. I am happy.
"Before I was living in Los Angeles and San Francisco and they were tough times. I have a lot of hard-luck stories to tell you,” he said.
When he retired from the ring in 2005 with a record of 47-13-0, Espinosa experienced declining fortunes, which first began when he divorced the first of his three wives (he has four children).
Worst of all, he was still owed US$130,000 plus interest from a world featherweight championship fight against Carlos Rios in 1997.
Espinosa still has not seen the money despite the Court of Appeals in the Philippines ruling in his favour in June.
“Hopefully, the issue will be resolved and I will finally see the money. I really need the money,” he said.
Espinosa now holds a steady job and has returned to doing what he loves most. He showed off his boxing skills and interacted with the public in a Sports Carnival, jointly held by Fashion Walk and the Wan Chai Sports Federation on Sunday.
Everlast managing director, Joey Chan Chi-sang, said Espinosa has been a “fine” trainer and his one-year contract would be extended for another year soon. That means another year of steady income.
“He is teaching a lot of boxers, ranging from 20 to 40 years old and he’s popular in the gym. We want him to continue working for us. He’s been good for us.”