DALLAS, TEXAS — Unbeknownst to the thousands of Filipinos who came to Dallas to watch the Pacquiao-Clottey event is a beautiful and unassuming young Filipino-American teenager in their midst who is famous in her own right. Her name is Vanessa Sansano Washington, a 17-year-old senior high student at Mansfield H.S. and lives in Arlington, Texas with her parents Carleton and Norma Washington.
Vanessa is the reigning Ringside World Champion in her weight category (Bantamweight 114 pounds) after beating the Irish National Champion in Kansas City in August 2009 for the world title. She is also a two-time Golden Gloves Regional Champion in Fort Worth, Texas in 2008 and 2009.
Vanessa was discovered two years ago by renowned trainer Paul Reyes, who trained former heavyweight champion Donald Curry. Reyes had very little expectations when he first met Vanessa, who did not play any sports in high school and did not have any conditioning experience, and just out of the blue wanted to become a boxer.
“I can’t explain it, but I just knew I wanted to do it,” said Vanessa. But when he saw her knock out a bigger opponent, Reyes immediately saw the tremendous potential in this young lady. Reyes had sworn not to train female boxers in the past but on seeing Vanessa’s natural talents, he knew she was special. What ensued is a string of Golden Gloves victories in her weight class which led up to the Ringside World Championship in Kansas City.
Last March 16, Vanessa was escorted to Manny Pacquiao’s suite at the Gaylord Texas and was introduced to Manny Pacquiao and to Freddie Roach by Manny’s driver Mitch Carter from Las Vegas (see photo). If Freddie Roach could take this teenage boxing phenom under his wing and tutelage, the sky would be the limit as to what this talented young Filipina champion can achieve. She can go as far and fly as high as her dreams, her superb boxing skills and her winsome personality can take her.
Vanessa’s parents Carleton and Norma who hails from Baguio City are very supportive of their daughter’s goals. “God willing,” Carleton said, “Vanessa will pursue her dreams and will be triumphant in whatever destiny the Almighty God leads her into.”
Asked about her near-term and long-term goals, Vanessa’s sights are focused on joining the 2012 Olympics, attending college (Texas Christian University with a degree in Business Administration) and then going into professional boxing. She feels this is her destiny, her Mt. Everest. And with God, her parents, her friends and hopefully the Team Pacquiao in her corner, she is confident she can reach them.