Passion for boxing led Omega to stage event

Published September 29, 2020, 3:32 PM

by Waylon Galvez

Pete Apolinar (left) and Christian Araneta face off during a sparring session inside the ‘bubble’ at the International Pharmaceutical Inc. compound in Cebu City.
(Photo courtesy of Omega Boxing Promotions)

If there’s a will, there’s a way.

This best describes the readiness of the Omega Sports Promotions to stage a “bubble” boxing event next month to help the local professional boxers and promoters recover from the ill-effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

A four-card fight by the Cebu-based outfit is set on Oct. 7 at the International Pharmaceuticals Inc. compound in Mandaue City, Cebu

This is the first boxing event since similar meets were postponed because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are honored and privileged to be holding this historic boxing card in Cebu,” Omega Sports Promotions vice president Jerome Calatrava said on Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association online forum.

“It’s a challenge but we are looking forward to it. We’re ready for this first-ever boxing event in the country.”

Omega’s Ronnie Vecilles and Baguio’s Junel Lacar clash in a light flyweight (108-pound) 10-rounder, while Christian Araneta battles Richard Rosales of Bohol also in a 10-round light flyweight match.

Penitente Apolinar of Omega takes on Cagayan de Oro’s Jetro Pabustan in a featherweight (126-pound) bout, also a 10-rounder, while stable partner Carlo Bacaro collides with fellow Cebuano Jeffrey Stella in a light welterweight (140-pound) encounter set for six rounds.

Vecilles is the reigning World Boxing Association South light flyweight champion and is ranked No. 10 in the World Boxing Council ratings, while Araneta was an ex-WBC Asia silver champion in the light flyweight division.

“All the boxers are excited and itching to fight. The excitement cannot be described, including the opponents of our boxers,” said Calatrava, whose promotion outfit led by Paul Jake Castillo has been around since the nineties.

Among the products of the Omega stable, he said, are World Boxing Organization bantamweight John Riel Casimiro, who successfully defended his crown in the US last weekend, and world title contender Jhack Tepora.

The said event is sanctioned by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) led by chairman Baham Mitra, whose agency has been active in providing the guidelines as crafted by the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) made of GAB, Department of Health and Philippine Sports Commission.

“We would like to also thank GAB chairman Mitra’s backing in staging this event,” Calatrava said, adding that they complied with all the health protocols as ordered by JAO to hold the boxing event.

Calatrava said that all the boxers and personnel involved in the card underwent rapid tests and have moved to live within the IPI compound in Mandaue City, and would undergo swab test two days before the fight.

“We will have about 50 people involved, including the boxers, crew and the one referee we hired for the event that will be held in closed doors with GAB officials watching,” he said.

“We will then play the video of the event on our Facebook page Omega Boxing Gym on a delayed basis.”