Former boxing champion turned promoter Gerry Peñalosa said that while he is grateful to the government for allowing the sport to return, he knows it is going to be hard to promote a fight during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Malaking bagay na binalik ang boxing, pasalamat siyempre tayo sa gobyerno, although hindi madaling mag-promote ngayon. Sakripisyo talaga,” Peñalosa told Manila Bulletin in a phone interview Sunday night.
Peñalosa’s reactions came after the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) of tripartite government agencies Games and Amusements Board, Philippine Sports Commission and the Department of Health approved boxing, Muay Thai, kickboxing at MMA or Mixed Martial Arts to resume training and events.
Peñalosa said the government’s decision is crucial for pro boxers, especially those trying to make a name for themselves and are fighting on local events before the COVID-19 outbreak.
A two-time world champion and a career that spanned 21 years, Peñalosa said holding local fights is a big challenge because of the strict guidelines.
“Unang-una bawal ang audience, so walang kita sa gate attendance. Kung wala manonood, mahirap naman makakuha ng sponsors, kaya malaking sacrifice sa mga promoters kagaya ko,” he said.
Part of the financial aspect that a local promoter needs to shoulder, according to Peñalosa, is the hotel accommodations and the swab testing for all individuals in the fight – before, during and even after the fight.
One of the solutions Peñalosa sees is for local promoters to bond together and conduct a co-promotion fight to ease the burden financially, and in the same way help local fighters to earn.
“Local fights lang muna siguro, kasi sa tingin ko hindi pa puwede naman tayo magkaroon ng international fights. Sa ganun makakatulong tayo sa mga boxers na nahihirapan na din,” said Peñalosa.
“Saka siguro, dahil nga five fights lang ang pinapayagan ng government, bigyan nating chance na makabalik sa ngayon yung talagang sa tingin natin may future sa boxing, yung pwede maging world champion.”
Aside from Peñalosa, other promoters expected to participate actively in the government’s decision to resume with boxing are the MP Promotions of Senator Manny Pacquiao, the Elorde Boxing Promotions, and the Cebu-based Omega Boxing Promotions.