ONE of Omega Boxing’s rising stars, Pete “The Thunder” Apolinar, has added motivation for fighting Juanito Paredes in the main event of Kumbati 91 inside a “bubble” setup venue at the IPI Compound in Mandaue City on March 27, 202.
With a 13-1 win-loss record with eight knockouts, The Thunder derives inspiration from his girlfriend (GF), Michelle Adriano Batiller, a medical frontliner who recently recovered from Covid-19.
A nurse assigned to the molecular laboratory and the Acute Respiratory Infectious Diseases Center of Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital, Batiller was exposed to the coronavirus along with other healthcare workers.
A worker at Cebu Doctors’ for a decade already, Battiller was attending to about 250 swab specimens a day at the molecular laboratory where reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction swab tests were processed.
After almost a year at the frontlines of the fight against the dreaded disease, Batiller tested positive last February 22, weeks before the fight of the featherweight prospect against Paredes.
“I was symptomatic. Pete would video call me after his training while I was admitted. He always cheers me up and told me that we both have to fight for our dreams and goals,” Batiller told The Manila Times.
The two have rarely seen each other since the pandemic broke out as the 25-year-old Apolinar trains inside the Omega Boxing Gym’s “bubble” facility while Batiller is focused on her medical work.
“I felt I can defeat Covid-19 since I’m also a fighter like him,” Batiller said, referring to her boyfriend.
After a 10-day hospital confinement, Batiller was released with a clean bill of health and an authorization to report back to duty.
The challenges that the frontliner and the fighter had to face only made the featherweight prospect stronger and more determined to reach his ultimate goal, which is to become a world champion.
Apolinar said he treats every fight as if it were a championship match.
Omega’s head trainer, Julius Erving Junco, attests to the fighter’s grit and determination.
“He’s one of the hardworking guys in here and showed that he deserves to be in the main bout,” said Junco in an earlier interview with The Manila Times.
After surviving Covid-19, Batiller has only one wish, and this is to see her boyfriend fighting live. However, it would be another challenge since the venue is restricted to only a few staff members, and a crowd is disallowed in compliance with health protocols.
“One of the requirements to be in the venue is a Covid-19 negative result. I hope I can watch him fight,” she said.
Batiller and Apolinar will celebrate their seventh anniversary in April.