By Nick Giongco
The ALA Boxing Club in Cebu City, whose production line spawned a four-division world champion and a bevy of standouts through its 35-year of existence, is eerily silent.
World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero and International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight king Jerwin Ancajas (Handout photo / Alvin Go)
Ever since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus as a pandemic, the sweat shop owned by boxing patron Tony Aldeguer, has been forced to shut down.
The gym now houses less than 15 boxers, according to Tony’s son Michael, who now handles boxing for the promotional outfit.
“First time in over 30 yrs this has happened. It's a very difficult situation for all,” said Aldeguer, noting that many fighters in their stable have gone home to their provinces.
Those who either opted to stay or don’t have to go home to, are being taken care of.
“It is an alarming situation for all and their families but there is food provided in the gym,” said Aldeguer, who assured those who stayed that they won’t be taken for granted.
“For over 30 years we gave them support and we won’t leave them,” he added.
The lockdown over the deadly virus has forced the cancellation and postponement not only of major global sporting events as the world battles to contain it.
World champion Jerwin Ancajas, who was supposed to make the ninth defense of his title on April 11 in Las Vegas, has isolated himself in Magallanes, Cavite, with manager-trainer Joven Jimenez.
Though they have scaled down the training regimen, Ancajas continues to work out but admits “safety is No. 1.”
Jimenez said the postponement was the right thing to do given the magnitude of the situation.
John Riel Casimero, who was scheduled to see action on April 25 also in Las Vegas, is also on training mode but is likewise on reduced exposure, opting to work out behind closed doors in a rented house in Sin City.
Art Monis, who manages another world champion in Pedro Taduran, is also on standby but continues to watch over the training of some of his fighters in La Union.
“My boxers jog in the mountains while Pedro is in Albay as he failed to return to Manila because of the lockdown,” said Monis.
For a sport whose practitioners are used to staring death in the face, this latest adversary is something that has send shivers down their spine.