Gabriel (Flash) Elorde, the young man being hoisted high by his cheering countrymen, is not yet President of the Philippine Republic, but for a few hours the other night he might have had the office by popular acclaim. To the surprise of oddsmakers, Elorde had just taken the junior lightweight championship of the world from an experienced and highly regarded U.S. puncher, Harold Gomes of Providence, R.I.
It was the first world boxing title for the young republic, and it could hardly have come under more pleasing circumstances. Twenty-five thousand Filipino fight fans packed the new Araneta Coliseum in suburban Manila to applaud their challenger in person, and only the threat of a dousing with fire hoses kept 5,000 more from crashing down the gates. Elorde rose to the occasion like a patriot. A powder-puff puncher by reputation, he floored Gomes seven times in seven rounds, seemed at the end to have been harder pressed by the throng of delirious well-wishers than by his ring opponent.
The Flash found victory doubly sweet. It avenged his loss to another American, butting, elbowing Sandy Saddler, in a title fight four years ago, and it brought him the accolade of a breakfast invitation from Carlos Garcia, President of the republic.