GAB awaits decision on pro boxing

In this file photo, Filipino boxer John Riel Casimero bangs the heavy bag during workout in Miami. (Photo courtesy of Sean Gibbons)

Amid the celebration over the decision to allow basketball and football to allow their athletes to return to training mode, the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) is awaiting answers from the Inter-Agency Task Force whether professional boxing can also follow suit.

GAB chairman Baham Mitra was expecting pro boxing to be included with basketball and football on the short list of sports being given the go-signal to begin training as the agency had sent its strict safety protocols.

Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Baham Mitra

“I sent a message to the Department of Health representative insisting on the approval of IATF to include boxing as long as there is testing as Local Govt. Secretary Eduardo Ano made a motion which was carried and he said that they still have questions on our testing but I already sent an email to the IATF Secretariat requesting for the minutes and the transcript of the meeting,” Mitra said in a test message.

Mitra is batting for the inclusion of pro boxing as he considers the boxers as having the same status as Overseas Filipino Workers.

“I told them that if OFW are allowed (to go abroad), dapat boxers din pwede,” said Mitra.

While boxing shows remain on hold in the country, the US and the areas across the globe have started to open up.

Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. has featured three Filipinos so far while rival promotional outfits also in the US are set to showcase some Filipinos in the coming weeks and months.

READ: Filipino boxer Mark Bernaldez yields to undefeated American Albert Bell

Ukraine and Mexico have likewise held events while Germany is set to do the same thing.

Marty Elorde’s boxers get ready for dinner inside their quarters at the Elorde Sports Complex in Paranaque. (Photo by Marty Elorde)

Still, it is interesting to note that several boxing clubs have remained on training mode even during the lockdown.

The Elorde Sports Center in Sucat, Paranaque, the Survival Camp in Magallanes, Cavite, have been holding workouts for their in-house fighters.

Those who were not also disrupted by the lockdown include Art Monis’ Hardstone Stable in La Union and even former national team standout Delfin Boholst, who manages and trains Olympian and longtime teammate Charly Suarez.

The IATF’s decision to allow basketball and football to be played is limited to training and conditioning only with Philippine Basketball Association vowing to enforce the strictest of rules. The Philippine Football Federation has also been given the green light to return to training.

However, parties that were not mentioned should refrain from holding practices even if they play basketball or football as per the IATF order.