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List of Articles by Rico Navarro

Bleacher Talk: Pinoy Boxing Judge in USA

By Rico Navarro
13 Jul 2009


While Manny Pacquiao will hog the headlines for Pinoy Boxing, there’s another member of the boxing family who is also making waves in the U.S., albeit in a quieter manner. But under the radar it may be, this ought to stand out and make us proud.

Have your heard of Filipino boxing judge Jonny Davis? He might be remembered by many for being the brave judge who saw Vic Darchinyan as a 114-112 winner of hometown boy Z Gorres at their 2008 fight here in Cebu. The fight was declared a split draw with the Thai judge scoring the fight for Gorres and the Aussie judge seeing it as a draw. But that’s Jonny Davis for you. He’s a boxing judge who sees a fight the way he sees it and isn’t swayed or influenced by a hometown crowd. He’s also one of the judges with whom this corner exchanged analysis and commentaries during the actual fights.

Fast forward to today. Davis proudly broke the news that he has now been accredited and licensed as a boxing judge by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC). He’s also recognized and licensed as an international judge by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and the World Boxing Organization (WBO). A former bank executive and local boxing judge, he has now moved to the United States where he has joined his family for good. He had his first CSAC assignment on June 11 alongside well-known CSAC judges Marty Denkin, Lou Filippo, Raul Caiz, and first lady referee Gwen Adair. After hearing the good news, I couldn’t help but feel proud that a boxing colleague who’s as Bisaya as utan is now part of the boxing mainstream in the U.S.

By being in the CSAC’s mainstream, Davis is now a regular judge on call for all of California’s boxing activities which is also called “California style boxing.” These are boxing events composed of six and four round fights held in the various gaming casinos scattered across the state. The boxing cards serve as side entertainment “shows” on top of the usual activities of the gambling casinos and hotels. These are usually held Thursdays or Fridays. Davis, like his new set of colleagues, is also accredited by the various world boxing bodies. Davis has already served as a judge in an IBF world minimumweight championship fight and an IBF title-eliminator fight, both in Mexico.

Upon hearing the good news, I couldn’t help but ask about how they work with each other in the CSAC and what a usual boxing event was like. One of the most eye-opening facets about their set-up is how all judges are well respected by the boxing community there and how they go about with certain SOPs at boxing events. After all boxing fights are done in an evening, all officials convene for a meeting where the CSAC representative and fight supervisor discuss what just transpired. All judges’ performance for the evening are appraised and they discuss and justify why and how they arrived at their final scores for the fights. They exchange notes on how they saw the fights and the fight supervisor also goes over improvement areas of both the judges and referees. Missed low blow calls and missed point deductions are pointed out while pats on the back are also given to all who do well.

Jonny’s being officially recognized as a judge in the CSAC is definitely a big achievement for Cebu Boxing. Davis was primarily a big boxing fan quietly managing a bank when he was convinced to work as a local judge. He started out the usual way, starting out with four rounders, working his way up to ten-rounders and eventually serving as a judge in WBO regional championship fights. Ironically, his appointment as a judge in the Darchinyan-Gorres fight was to replace the original judge assigned to the fight. Little did he know that he would come out as the “controversial” judge who saw a hometown boy losing by decision. The controversial tag stuck but more importantly, he gained the respect and admiration of the boxing fans for sticking to what he saw as an impartial judge.

And today? He’s now in the U.S. where the biggest boxing events of the world take place. From Cebu to the world.

Back to Rico Navarro's Articles Listing

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