Pinoy Pride Too
Pinoy Pride too
By: Rico Navarro
The Freeman Daily Cebu
Fresh from another successful Pinoy Pride 27 in Dubai last week, Cebu Boxing, a.k.a. Philippine Boxing, is really on a roll. Based on the reports, feedback and social media comments about the event, it looks like ALA Promotions has struck another gold mine with its first Pinoy Pride event abroad. Make that another milestone of an achievement for the group that has set the bar and left everyone else behind in the business of boxing. With Genesis Servania, Arthur Villanueva and Boom Boom Bautista winning their fights before a predominantly Pinoy crowd, ALA has proven that it can now get into the international market and make it click. This can only mean so much for Philippine Boxing.
Aside from the boxers and the promoters/managers, there’s another important facet of Philippine Boxing that has gone unnoticed to the regular boxing fan with this sudden thrust to go overseas. While the spotlight has been on our boxers and promotions personnel, there is a group of boxing persons who should also be given credit for Pinoy Pride and Pinoy Boxing. When Pinoy Pride was held in Dubai, it was like airlifting the event from the Waterfront, MOA Arena or Solaire Hotel. What do I mean? Also joining the trip to Dubai were boxing officials including referees, judges and table officials from yes, you guessed it right, the Philippines! From a boxing aficionado perspective, it was like having the event being held in the Philippines. If you saw Danrex Tapdasan and Bruce McTavish refereeing some of the fights, that wasn’t a local card. That was in Dubai. If you listened carefully, you might have heard the names of Philippine judges Salven Lagumbay and Edward Ligas scoring the fights. Also making the trip were GAB Chairman Juan Ramon Guanzon, Boxing Head Dr. Nasser Cruz and Cebu’s Dr. Rene Bonsubre. Dubai does not have a boxing commission and a set of officials, so the promoters had to fly in a set of qualified officials to run the show. And quite naturally, that would be a set of Pinoys. The international title fights, though, included other foreigner officials from Thailand, Britain and Tanzania. Dennis Canete of ALA Promotions explained that Dubai doesn’t have boxing officials but they still seek the approval of the UAE Boxing Federation. He added that they conducted a boxing seminar for Dubai-based referees and judges, with McTavish conducting the workshop. Isn’t that interesting? That’s Pinoy Boxing teaching others on the basics of boxing. Having Pinoy officials travel abroad is also true for fights in Macau and China. Cebu’s officials have benefitted from this as they are top choices to work under the Professional Boxing Commission of China (PBCC) which is headed by Leon Panoncillo. Other Cebu officials who have made trips there include Edgar Olalo, Tony Pesons, Arnie Najera, Romar Embodo, and Larry Balanay. This is just a natural offshoot of having a boxing boom in the hotbed of Pinoy boxing. With boxing levelling up here, it was only natural that officiating would also get an upgrade. And when there was a need to call/look for officials to work in Macau, China and Dubai, finding officials was not a difficult task.
But that’s not it. If you thought they were the only Pinoys joining these boxing trips abroad, there were more. The sportswriters/media were also there to record and report everything that took place there. At the Dubai event, writers from Manila and Cebu joined the trip with our very own sports editor Manny Villaruel covering the fights for us. Philboxing.com, the country’s premier boxing website, has been making trips overseas way much earlier than the rest with its founder Dong Secuya taking the lead. The other Cebu dailies also sent their own representatives to cover the event. Now that’s a first! There are times when Cebu’s sportswriters and photojournalists would go to Manila to cover boxing events of ALA Promotions where they are joined by colleagues from Davao and Bacolod. This is already a norm. But don’t look now, they’re levelling up too: going overseas as well. I never imagined that this would be happening.
With Pinoy Pride dead serious about pursuing more events in the Middle East where a hungry Pinoy market awaits, we could be looking at a more trips for this bunch of officials and sportswriters. The wonder of all this is that we realize that these are things where we Pinoys are better than others. We even end up teaching them about our craft. This is truly a proud moment not only for boxing, but more importantly for Philippine Sports over-all.
Now that’s Pinoy Pride too.
We’d like to thank the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles for dropping by yesterday.