Kaua‘i Junior Featherweight Boxing Champion Placido D. Valenciano (1917-2012) was born in Ilocos Norte, Philippines, and immigrated to Hawai‘i with his parents Faustino and Patricia Valenciano, and his brother, Mariano, in 1928 aboard the ship “President Cleveland” and settled at Makaweli.
Not long after, his father became ill and went back to the Philippines with his mother in the hope that he would get better there and then return to Kaua‘i, but he died in the Philippines and his mother did not return.
Effectively orphaned, Placido and his brother then went to live with and were raised by their uncle Macario Verdedaro.
Unfortunately, Placido’s formal public education would end in the sixth grade when financial hardship forced him to quit school to earn his living as a field laborer hoeing weeds for Makaweli Sugar Company at 40 cents a day.
But later, in his teens, an opportunity beckoned when his friend Cyclon Melicio introduced him to boxing at Makaweli Hall, a sport at which he would excel as an amateur competing on Kaua‘i, Honolulu and Hawai‘i Island in his spare time after work.
Among the other outstanding Makaweli boxers of the 1920s and 1930s — regarded as the “Golden Age” of boxing on Kaua‘i – were Jose Omakanim, Robert Riola, Benny Mactagone and Johnny Dias.
In 1937, he was selected as the “Best Fighter” of the Makaweli Boxing Club, and two years later he was crowned the Kaua‘i Junior Featherweight Division Champion.
During World War II, Placido joined the U.S. Engineering Department, which built military storage tunnels at Mana along the base of the pali, and he later helped construct tunnels in the Red Hill area of O‘ahu as a welder.
Drafted by the Army in 1944, he was assigned as a welding instructor on O‘ahu.
Following his discharge from the Army in 1946 he became a welder at Olokele Sugar Company, and subsequently opened a welding shop in Hanapepe and taught welding at Kaua‘i Community College.
Kaua‘i boxing champion Placido D. Valenciano and his wife, Maria Bolosan Valenciano, had seven children.