By Nick Giongco
Clarito Samson, the Filipino sportswriter who promoted world title fights starring Luisito Espinosa and Gerry Penalosa in the 1990s, passed away Wednesday morning in Manila, Philippines. Samson’s first foray into big-time boxing promotions came in 1996 when he staged Espinosa’s mandatory defense of the WBC featherweight crown against Mexican Cesar Soto before 50,000 fans at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila. In attendance during that historic fight was WBC president Jose Sulaiman. Samson would later promote Espinosa’s defense against another Mexican, Manuel Medina, in May 1997. Two weeks after the Espinosa-Medina showdown, Samson promoted Penalosa’s defense against Seung Koo Lee in Mactan, Cebu, and in 1998 was in charge once again when Penalosa faced Joel Luna Zarate of Mexico at the Cuneta Astrodome. Before his death, Samson was involved in the media-public relations section of the Philippine Olympic Committee.