ABAP clears air over social media clamor of Tokyo-bound boxers

Published March 19, 2021, 4:25 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. (Handout photo)
Tokyo Olympic-bound boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno (Handout photo)

The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) has shed light on the recent social media clamor of Olympic-bound boxers Irish Magno and Eumir Felix Marcial.

ABAP, in a statement Friday, March 19, explained that the organization has initially kept mum over the budget delay and believed that the issue should be addressed by the agency concerned, which is the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

In a now-deleted Facebook post, Magno, who is currently in Thailand along with other national boxers, pleaded for help and stated that she cannot focus on training knowing that they haven’t received any allowances for two months.

Magno said her allowance has been the stable source of income for their family. In a separate post, Marcial, who is training with coach Freddie Roach at Wild Card Boxing in Los Angeles, California, backed up his teammate and revealed that the recent development has been taking a toll on their morale ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

READ: Vargas confident of Marcial’s Olympic bid

After receiving social media backlash and accusations, ABAP clarified that “we have not been blind or unresponsive to their financial troubles” and cited that the organization had provided financial assistance to all their boxers and coaches during the lengthy lockdown last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A week before Magno’s post, ABAP said it also extended cash assistance anew to their athletes and coaching staff.

“We (ABAP) acknowledge the sacrifices and hardships our athletes and coaches go through in the struggle for national pride,” ABAP’s statement read.  “And for this, we have always seen to it that they are amply rewarded for their achievements and have taken care of their basic needs in nutrition, sports psychology, strength and conditioning and the best possible training. We also acknowledge that the PSC has been a partner in these efforts.”

ABAP president Ricky Vargas insisted that they won’t prevent their athletes from “exercising their rights and speaking their mind.”

“This is not to ‘spoil’ them, but to allow them the basic freedoms provided under our democratic society. We are not inclined to scold or reprimand them for speaking out. We would rather offer a concrete explanation for them to understand.”

Vargas furthered that their boxers and other national athletes needed an “explanation and a concrete statement” to address the issue in order to lessen their anxieties in these trying times.

In an advisory, Thursday, March 18, the PSC announced that the January allowance of athletes and local coaches of Olympic-bound sports have been released while the February counterpart is being processed.