MITRA SEES BACK OF GLORY DAYS IN PH BOXING
By Lito delos Reyes
07 Sep 2016
MANILA – Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Abraham Khalil “Baham” Mitra said the glory days of Philippine boxing is now expected to be back with the recent victory by the new IBF world super flyweight champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas.
“I predict renewed interest in Philippine boxing and glory days are going back very soon,” said Mitra.
Ancajas, a native of Panabo City, Davao del Norte dethroned McJoe Arroyo of Puerto Rico via a convincing unanimous decision in their 12-round title-fight held last September 3 at the Jurado Hall of the Philippine Marine Corp, Barangay Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.
The Filipino southpaw knocked down Arroyo in the 8th round with a barrage of punches but the Puerto Rican was able to beat the count and continue the fight.
Arroyo was again downed on the canvas in the next round due to body blows by Ancajas but referee Gene del Bianco ruled the knockdown as only a slip.
All three judges scored in favour of Arroyo – Gil Co (118-109), Carlos Colon (115-112) and Takeo Harada (117-110).
The 24-year old Ancajas improved his record to 25 wins with 16 knockouts and only one loss and one draw while it was only the first setback for Arroyo (17-1-0).
“It's with great pride and honor that we greet our new world champion. It just shows that Filipino athletes are world class,” said Mitra.
He said that the country must give credit to Ancajas and his trainer Joven Jimenez for their perseverance.
“As we know it's so hard to train and win with limited resources and facilities,” said Mitra.
It was a not an easy preparation for Ancajas and Jimenez. They had to transfer from Davao City to Tanay, Rizal to concentrate with their training.
Their gym in Tanay also did not have the complete training facilities compared to the other boxing gyms.
“But the weather in Tanay was very good and the air is fresh,” said Jimenez.
The title-fight was also postponed due to the non-availability of Arroyo, who reportedly was trying to evade Ancajas. The venue was also transferred from Cavite to Taguig.
“Pero nagbunga rin ang matagal naming na paghihintay at pasensiya hanggang natuloy na nga yun laban,” said Jimenez.
Aside from his minimal boxer’s purse of only US$2,700, Ancajas was also awarded a cash incentive of P500,00 by Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, an 8-time world division champion.
It was also Pacquiao’s MP Promotions USA, who promoted the said fight.
Ancajas’s win made it now a total of five Filipino world champions. Unheralded Marlon “Nightmare” Tapales of Lanao del Norte earlier won the WBO light flyweight crown in Thailand last July.
The other Filipino world champions are WBO super bantamweight champion Noniot “Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr., IBF flyweight champion Johnriel “Quadro Alas” Casimero and WBO light flywewight king Donnie “Ahas” Nietes (who had recently relinquished his title to move up and campaign in the flyweight division.)
Meanwhile, Chairman Mitra “hopes to be able to energize Philippine boxing by going out of their way at GAB to look after their welfare and opening doors for them.”
Mitra has also already made consultations with the boxing promoters, managers, referees and judges in Manila to address existing issues like the assigning of the referees and judges in Manila, which is now made by rotation.
“I will (also) make sure that Filipino boxers are never exploited while managers and promoters are able to have proper income,” said Mitra.
Mitra also intends to revive the annual promotion activity of the Boxers Welfare Fund, dubbed as ‘Fiesta Fistiana’, which has not been active for the last six years.
Mitra hopes to improve GAB’s licensing function by giving license renewal a two- or three-year duration to make things easier for the professional athletes.
Photo: GAB chairman Abraham Mitra with newly minted IBF world champion Jerwin Ancajas. Photo by Carlos Bhima Tamayo.
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