This is the story of the boxer whom we would soon see fighting his bout, depsite every imaginable setbacks and hurdles one can think of. A stuff of movies: a young man, in the face of personal and professional challenges, struggles against the odds and finally achieves his dreams.
Naozumi "Nao" Tsuchiyama, a 26-year-old Japanese language instructor whose right leg was amputated as a child and now wears a prosthetic, had always wanted to become a boxer.
To do so, he needed a boxing license but was denied this in his home country on account of his physical condition. So, he went abroad but even then it wasn't easy for him.
The first time he applied for a boxing license from the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) in the Philippines, he was rejected because his condition was deemed not fit for boxing. Medical examinations showed otherwise, but the GAB would not budge.
Last August, he took part in a trial fight in the Philippines where he impressed the GAB officials in attendance. Despite a favorable recommendation from these representatives who were impressed with his performance, the GAB still rejected his application.
Undeterred, Nao persisted and flew to South Korea to take part in the World Boxing Association's annual conference. He returned to the Philippines with the assurance that there is no international policy preventing him from fighting professionally. This time around, the GAB relented and gave him his license.
Nao will be fighting his third match in the Philippines on Aug 9. We indeed have to be very proud to support Nao's endeavor and draw inspiration from this great human being who fought all the odds and emerged victorious.
Hope his tale will inspire everyone to pursue their dreams, fight the adversities and come out victorious.
If there's a will, there's always a way.