The Cudillo twins, Lester and Lowie, are not only talented boxers, they’re also super dedicated to the sweet science.
“The first thing is, they’re very determined young men,” said Dennis Ejack, the co-coach of the 16-year-old Red Deer and District Boxing Club brothers. “What they want is to be boxers.
“Quite often as a coach of elites athletes, like these guys are, what you’re doing is pushing them to go running or pushing them to do this or that. These kids do it on their own, they do more than I ask them to do. These guys work on boxing six days a week, sometimes seven. And it’s not because we ask that of them, it’s because they want to do it.”
The twins, who relocated to Red Deer from the Philippines six years ago and have boxed for two years, will compete in the Alberta championships Saturday and Sunday at the Westerner Harvest Centre. Both are current provincial open champions — Lester in the 118-pound class and Lowie in the 128-pound division.
In addition, both have won provincial Golden Gloves and Diamond Gloves titles and both struck gold in the Alberta Winter Games in February in Banff and Canmore, with each winning twice by technical knockout.
“The Winter Games is a huge tournament. That, in our opinion, is like teaching these kids what Olympics is like,” said Ejack. “You sleep in an athletes village and you eat together with everybody else.”
Lester is big on the sport not only because of the success he’s enjoyed, but also . . .
“It’s fun and it’s challenging,” he said. “You have something to do. You don’t get bored.”
Added Lowie: “It’s a legal way of fighting someone. You don’t get in trouble.”
For both bothers, their homeland heritage is front and centre.
“Manny Pacquiao inspired me,” said Lester, in reference to the great Filipino boxer. “He used to be very poor and steal cigarettes. When he joined boxing he became famous and unstoppable. I decided I want to be like him.”
The Cudillos are intent on taking their boxing skills to the greatest amateur stage, and perhaps beyond.
“I want to go to the Olympics and win a gold (medal),” said Lester.
“I’m planning to do that as well,” said Lowie. “But I’m not really sure what to do with my life yet.”
While both brothers are turning heads with their dexterity inside of the ring, they’re different fighters.
“When they started, their style was the same because we didn’t know anything about them,” said Ejack. “But as time went on Lowie got a big bigger and now we want to keep his punch count high because amateur boxing is now judged likes the pros, on the 10-9 system.
“With Lowie, we tell him not to panic. His counter-punching is out of this world and we really want guys to come at him. Probably the only guy he doesn’t want to come at him is Lester.”
Indeed, Lester is not only aggressive, he’s also agile.
“Lester is a tremendously fast athlete with a really high punch count and lots of movement, so we’ve got two styles going for us,” said Ejack. “Lester is like Manny Pacquiao, he’s all over you all of the time. Lowie, on the other hand, is like Floyd Mayweather. He’s going to sit there and let the other guy pose and then hit him. If the other guy comes at him he’ll throw some overhand rights and counter-punches. One guy has power, the other has speed.”
The brothers each have 15 bouts on their resume. Lester has lost three times, Lowie just once.
“If a guy beats us, we come back and beat him. The old belief that you learn more from a loss than a win probably is true,” said Ejack.
The Cudillos have no idea of who they will be fighting this weekend, as the bouts won’t be set until Saturday.
“We have boxers from 42 provincial clubs coming to Red Deer and they’ll be sorted in terms of age, experience and weight,” said Ejack. “One weight class, like the 152-pound senior open, might be popular and have six fighters. Some divisions may only have one, so we’ll take a boxer and put him in another weight group. We won’t know who we’re boxing until Saturday.”
Not that the brothers are concerned about mixing it up with a last-minute opponent.
“It doesn’t really matter to me. It’s just important that I get into the ring,” said Lowie.
His sibling wears a symbol on the cuff of his shirt that reads AAA.
“It means anybody, anytime, anywhere,” said Lester.
“That what we’ve instilled in them — we do not back away from fights,” said Ejack. “We’ll fight anybody anywhere and anytime because that’s how we get better, win or lose. And these guys don’t lose.”
The coach isn’t putting any limits on the brothers’ potential. The sky is the limit.
“If they do well this weekend, they’ll go to nationals and then hopefully the worlds, and that gets you on the trail to the Olympics, Commonwealth and Pan Am Games,” said Ejack.
“The fact that these guys have all the titles they have, all the credentials . . . once they finish with the Olympics, if they do decide to go pro I think doors will open for them, much like they did with (former Red Deer Boxing Club member and now world-class professional) Arash Usmanee.”
The other coach working with the twins is their father, Leo.
“I work with them in the gym here and Leo works with them at home, in their basement. He’s a first-rate trainer,” said Ejack. “We’re a team, myself, Mr. Cudillo and the boys. We spend so much time together.”
Tickets for the weekend provincials, hosted by the local club, are priced at $10 per performance — with bouts starting at 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday — and can be purchased only at the door.
“We’re not selling any advance tickets,” said Ejack. “We’re not out to make money. We want this to be a family event, to let people see what boxing is all about.”
For more event details, Ejack can be contacted at 403-342-3846.