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By Ronnie Nathanielsz

Fri, 27 Mar 2015

We braved the normally horrendous traffic to attend, as we have always done through the years, the Mass for one of the greatest Filipino boxing champions of all time and certainly one of the most decent and humble individuals you would ever meet ? Gabriel ?Flash? Elorde at the Manila Memorial Park along Sucat Road in Paranaque.

It was to celebrate what would have been Elorde?s 80th birthday if he was not painfully taken from our midst in January 1985.
Despite nursing a fever and a terrible cold, we attended the Annual ?Flash? Elorde Banquet of Champions at 4:00 o?clock to watch the grandsons of ?Flash? ? Juan Miguel ?Bai? Elorde and younger brother Juan Martin Elorde take on two tough and worthy opponents whom they beat, with super bantamweight ?Migs? putting on an impressive exhibition of boxing while ?Bai?, the southpaw like his grandfather relying more on his power to see him through.

But before the Elorde?s entered the ring there was a Philippine bantamweight title fight between a fine boxer in Monico Laurente and a tough Marco Demecillo which promised to be a classic boxer-slugger showdown.

However, even before the fight started we were terribly upset to see that the handlers of Demecillo were sporting Tshirts with the name Singwancha emblazoned on them which cannot be prevented even as Demecillo had the name Singwancha across his trunks.
But what was far worse was when ring announcer Boy Llanera introduced Demecillo as Marco Demecillo Singwancha!

We questioned the GAB officials at ringside since the Games and Amusements Board under chairman Ramon Guanzon following our vehement protests well over a year ago over the use of the Singwancha name as though it was the family name of the boxer, had approved a resolution prohibiting this.

We argued then, that the family name of a Filipino is something to cherish and must never be trifled with as the use of the Singwancha name is a grave insult to the father of Demecillo and indeed to all Filipinos.

To the credit of Guanzon and the GAB board, they acted promptly and directed that the Singwancha name not be affixed to a boxer?s family name both in the local and international rankings in order to protect our self-respect.

The GAB official at ringside showed us the fight card which clearly indicated the name Marco Demecillo.

Question is, then why did the GAB appointed ring announcer in the presence of chairman Guanzon and the head of the boxing division Dr. Nasser Cruz decide to unilaterally announce Marco Demecillo Singwancha, with Singwancha in fact seated behind the GAB officials at ringside.

Naris Singwancha is known to pay managers and others to use the Singwancha name and there have been ridiculous situations when two fighters with the Singwancha name face each other,
The Thai businessman is on occasions seen handing over a couple of hundred US dollars to a fighter who wins which we again believe, is degrading since its done in full view of the public and television cameras.

Clearly, it?s a publicity stunt to gain attention which probably drives him to get Boy Llanera to add the Singwancha name even though it is not indicated in the GAB?s form which clearly lists down the boxers names.

Singwancha even wrote to the owner of asking that the Singwancha name be incorporated in the site?s schedules and results but it was denied by Jeremy Lantz, editor for the Philippines who quoted our position on the issue extensively and referred to the clash between business and ethics in boxing.
Clearly, the integrity of boxing is under question. To us the latest shenanigans indicate it is under threat and the sooner the GAB disciplines its favorite ring announcer the better since he also often announces the presence of Singwancha and asks fight fans to applaud at the mention of his name.

We were sick when we arrived at the historic Manila Hotel and our dear, longtime friend Bruce McTavish and even Ms. Laura Elorde asked us to go home and rest because we had some hard days ahead of us because of the ?Pinoy Pride 30? press conference and official weigh-in which we will host and the blockbuster fight card on Saturday which we will work with Atty. Ed Tolentino.

Pinoy Pride ? the word ?pride, kept ringing in my mind as we took the drive back home but what was even far more painful was the subversion of Filipino pride by a few individuals associated with the GAB.

The bell has rung to end this shameless episode. We hope Chairman Guanzon acts like he should.

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