MANILA, MARCH 12, 2007
(STAR) By Joaquin Henson - It’ll be a while before Freddie Roach retires but when he does, boxing icon Manny Pacquiao’s trainer plans to settle and live the rest of his life here.

Roach, 47, was in town last January to film a TV commercial and inaugurate his personal boxing camp on the fourth floor of the five-storey Hollywood Square Building on West Avenue, Quezon City.

Roach signed an open-ended contract for Body Worx Spa and Fitness Club to manage his camp. He provided Body Worx sports director Kendrick Lim Uy with a set of his 28 instructional DVDs and spent several days teaching instructors Mario Sismundo, Gil Abad and Ronald Gallego how to work a 10-session program in the basic, intermediate and professional levels.

"We’re excited to offer Freddie’s personal boxing program to Filipinos," said Uy, a UP sophomore who holds four Philippine swimming records. "Body Worx has the exclusive license to run Freddie’s camp and Freddie has committed to take at least six trips to Manila every year to monitor our progress. No other camp in the world has access to Freddie’s 28 instructional DVDs. Freddie chose us to be his first extension abroad because of his love for Filipinos and our country. He told me he would love to retire in the Philippines."

Uy said a 10-session program costs P2,250.

"I’m glad to have my name in the camp," said Roach, who has trained over 20 world champions since hanging up his gloves in 1986. "I’ll be visiting Manila once in two months to check out the gym which is a great facility and has state-of-the-art equipment."

Uy said a future plan is to arrange a tour for the local Roach campers at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles where they can observe the workouts of some of the world’s best fighters.

Uy, 18, has competed for the Philippines in the World Championships in Shanghai, the Pac-Pacific Championships in Canada, the SEA Games and the Asian Games. His dream is to represent the country in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

At Hollywood Square Building, Uy not only supervises the Roach camp but also the fitness club, a spa, a cosmetic surgery clinic and a rehabilitation and therapy center. His mother Kathy is the CEO of Body Worx.

The fitness club features a wide range of US cardio and flexibility equipment, free weights, upright and recumbent bikes, 11 cross-trainers, 10 treadmills, two rowers, a boxing ring, an aerobics and ballroom dancing studio and a separate room for boxing, aikido, taekwondo and other martial arts.

Actor Ronnie Ricketts works out at the fitness club from 7 to 10 a.m. six days a week. Other celebrities who drop in to keep fit include Francine Prieto, Diana Zubiri and Christian Vazquez.

"We’re ready to franchise," said Uy. "We’ve told Freddie that we plan to open 10 more camps this year. For a 300-square meter area, we can build, operate and transfer a complete facility at a cost of P2 million. That will include the equipment, gloves, wraps and whatever is required for a fitness club."

Uy said a privileged member pays P3,000 a month to avail of the gym facilities, steam room and various exercise classes. Corporate membership is available for P12,000 a month, good for 15 individuals.

Uy said Body Worx has hired two licensed nutritionists, five physical fitness trainers, 15 Japanese-trained spa specialists and a team of 10 physical therapists supervised by Dr. Gloria Arroyo-Coronel and Dr. Wendell Lozano.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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