Sunday afternoon I had the pleasure of conducting an interview with Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta. I thought our readers would like to know about this young professional boxer who is giving back to the community and has recently become a Vista resident.
We met at the Village Café in downtown Vista where owners Albert and Sandy Nazarian gave us a big welcome. Mercito was accompanied by some of his team members that included his fiancé Summer, His best friend and advisor Neil Macasadia, Neil’s wife, Tess and their daughter Neylani. We ordered some refreshments and eats and then quickly got to know each other. I soon found Mercito to be interesting, smart, and ambitious. I also discovered that despite his nickname of “No Mercy” he has great compassion for children and hopes to someday have his own gym where he can provide instruction and inspiration for at risk youth.
Mercito Gesta was originally a Filipino professional boxer growing up in Mandaue City of Cebu and whose career started at age 7. His first instructor and coach was his father Anecito who was a “Muay Thai” fighter. Muay Thai is a Martial Art sport of Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. This physical and mental discipline is known as “the art of eight limbs” because it is characterized by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees, and shins. Anecito was not allowed by his parents to follow his desire to go professional but even though he was a strict father to Mercito he encouraged Mercito to start fighting as a kick boxer.
Mercito switched from kick boxing to regular boxing whenhe was 15 telling me that this was because there was more money to be made with regular boxing because of the larger crowds. His schooling was sporadic because of fights he got into at school. The fights usually resulted in his dropping out of school for long periods of time. I was impressed with the way he told his story and with his very good usage of English. I would have guessed him to be American born of Filipino parents. He confessed that his competency with English was the result of tutoring he has received from his beautiful fiancé, Summer.
Mercito Gesta began his professional career on October 19, 2003, with a unanimous decision win over opponent, Edwin Picardal. He came to the United States on August 4, 2007 where he prevailed against Carlos Madrid. Mercito eventually won the WBO NABO Youth lightweight champion title in his 18th fight where he surprised the boxing world by knocking out Oscar Meza in the fourth round and brought the NABO Youth Championship belt back to San Diego.
His current professional record is 29 wins,1 loss, 2 Draws, and 16 KOs. Although an honor to be compared to Manny Pacquiao and Donito Donaire, Mercito wants to be known for himself and his own accomplishments. He is devoted to his career and trains throughout San Diego. He can sometimes be found at the Rhino Gym in Vista. Other members of Gesta’s Team include his Manager and Trainer, Anecito Gesta, his Cut Man, Anecito “Dondon” Gesta, Jr. and his Corner, Obie Sibug.
Mercito likes bicycle riding, pier fishing, good food and working with youth. He knows how to fly a kite without any wind and how to make a kite out of a plastic bag. He believes it is smart to study your opponents and watch videos of their past performances. He says “Every fight is a difficult fight” and you should always “keep going forward.” He told me that “cutting weight” is the hardest part of preparing for a fight. He has a nice smile that easily appears on his face. He is very competitive and very determined to win.
However, this young athlete has another ring he fights in. Recently, the administration, teachers, staff, and students at Leona Cox Elementary in Santa Clarita, CA were very excited for having the support and contribution from Gesta for their Multicultural Day. Mercito is supportive of kids of all ages, and stresses the importance of education, and the determination to stay in school to fulfill your dreams. And thisyear, Gesta is partnering with local nonprofit “Miracle Babies” to help tackle premature birth.
On May 1st Mercito will be attending the eighth annual Miracle Babies 5k at Liberty Station (2455Cushing Road) and will be signing autographs and taking photos with the walk’s participants. Proceeds from the 5k will benefit Miracle Babies, a local nonprofit that provides support and financial assistance to families with critically-ill newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and enhances the well-being of women, children and their families through education, prevention and medical care. The event includes a timed 5K run at 8:00 a.m. followed by a family friendly 5K walk at 9:00 a.m. This year’s theme is Superheroes. Participants can show their spirit by dressing up as your favorite Superhero. Strollers are welcome and encouraged. The day of festivities will include an infant diaper dash and kids’ obstacle courses. Following the walk, participants and spectators will enjoy food, drinks and kids’ activities including a Kid Zone and a Celebration of Life Fair. Registration fee for walkers is $25 for adults and free for children under 12. Runners’ fee is $30 for adults and $10 for children under 12. Participants may register at www.miraclebabies5k.com or on location at the event.
Miracle Babies, a non-profit organization, was founded by Dr. Sean Daneshmand and is based in San Diego. Dr. Daneshmand Specializes in High-Risk Obstetrics and Fetal Ultrasound with Clinic Locations in San Diego, Oceanside and Temecula. Dr. Daneshmand knows firsthand what that’s like because in 2002, his wife had pregnancy complications and his daughter was born at just 34 weeks. Daneshmand’s efforts have earned him national attention, including being named as a CNN “Hero of the Week.”
Every year more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely (Approximately 11.5% of live births in the United States.) As overwhelmed families grapple with the terrifying uncertainties, they often find themselves faced with unexpected financial difficulties. Miracle Babies provides education, support, counseling, gas vouchers and other financial assistance to families with newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Through the efforts of volunteers, many of whom are themselves the parents of premature newborns, and donations of time and/or financial support, the organization is able to raise funds that provide assistance to families whose lives have been turned upside down while caring for their preemie or sick newborn.
Mercito wants me to invite you to join him in the Miracle Babies walk. This event is fun and worthwhile. He will be very happy if you identify yourself as a fellow Vistan who cares about this cause that he believes in. His Team will be there with him and he will gladly take a photo with you and give you an autographed photo of himself.
Photo Credit for the photos with this story go to: Chris Almazan