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A Biography of Kawanto Pamungkas, My Dad

This Christmas eve will be the 4th Christmas eve without my Dad. He was an amateur champion in late 1960’s. My dad was kidnapped by some unknown people on November 20, 1994, only 3 days before his 51st birthday. The police investigation couldn’t reveal this case, only some clues that he was kidnapped by his business competitors. Until today, no one knows where or how he is.

I remember when I was 7 years old, he taught me some basic skills for the first time. And when I was 9, I sparred with him for the fist and also the last time. He was only ducking and blocking my punches. That was part of his preparations when he decided to try a pro. He was 35 when he found that he couldn’t stay away from the ring!

"Jeff, you make some unnecessary movements and footwork!" Exclaimed my dad one day after I sparred with one of his boxers. "You are untalented, Son." Those were his words who made me decide I will only assist him in his gym.

"Kawanto, A Bad Boy with Asian Reputation" was an appreciation of the press to my dad in 1988. In the article, my dad called himself as a "Buddha Statue" because of his fat posture. It was said, "No one would believe that the fat man was a champion when he was young, only his eyes explained that he was a tough guy."

My dad started his career in some small tournaments in Magelang, a small town in Jawa Tengah province, Indonesia. He got his first prestigious career when he was the silver medalist in Jawa Tengah Provinve Invitation in 1962. His talent has attracted Indonesian Training Center team, and he was recruit as a national boxer.

In 1964, he became Indonesian Bantamweight champion when he got his first Gold Medal in Indonesian Annual Tournament in Jakarta. In 1967, he "only" got the silver medal in Featherweight in the tournament after he was defeated by Jotje Waney by points in Surabaya.

Still in 1967, my dad, Kawanto Pamungkas, was back to his original division, Bantamweight and he got his first international success when he got the gold medal in Malaysia in Annual Malaysian Tournament. Participants of this tournament were some prestigious Asian boxers. But he was defeated in the same tournament in 1968.

His other international career were gold medal for Cambodian Anniversary Cup in 1966 and silver medal in 1969.

One of his best moments was when he defeated Syamsul Anwar Harahap, Asian champion and an Indonesian living legend in 1969. This boxer (Harahap) , later in 1970’s defeated one of World Hall of Famer, Thomas Hearns in Jakarta’s annual tournament President’s Cup.

My Dad fought twice in pro fights when he was 35 with 1-0-1 record. He won his debut by KO in round 1, but in the second fight, he was KO’d in 3rd round as he was running out of stamina. Then he realized that he was too old for boxing, and he only concentrated himself in his gym. He has had some champions in his gym, when he decided to close his gym because we moved to Jakarta for his new business. The last time I saw him KO’ing his fellow boxer in a training unintentionally. One of my friends who saw Jerry Quarry punching sack once said, "Fighters will never lost his power unless his speed." And the same thing happened to my dad, he didn’t loose his power unless his stamina and speed.

That is a brief biography of Kawanto, my boxing daddy. All we can do is only praying and hoping, that one day he will be back to celebrate Christmas gain with us. Merry Christmas, Champ!


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