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We must build our own boxing academy


PhilBoxing.com




When the current set of national amateur boxing officials took over nearly eight years ago, this reporter had mulled lending them the formula for a successful program adopted by world boxing power Mexico.

Unfortunately, we never had the chance or the break, the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines headed by corporate world superstar Ricky Vargas was singly focused on pursuing a new path in their quest to win the country?s first Olympic gold medal.

They mounted a well-funded national talent search, anchored on regional competitions among simonpures handled by handpicked boxing managers and trainers in their respective localities.

* * *

The way it was presented, that grassroots talent search and development would be wholly comprehensive and therefore foolproof.

Sad to say, the program obviously failed to realize the promised purpose and results.

The only point it had earned, if a point in could be counted, was the lone opening-round win scored by light flyweight Mark Anthony Barriga in the 2012 London Olympics. The Abap next suffered what could amount to a death plunge with its nightmarish stint in the Rio Olympics, where its two entries fell dismally in their opening bouts.

* * *

Well, it?s too late now; a new set of officials should shortly be taking over the reins of the Abap, following the order from association president Vargas for executive director Ed Picson to return from Rio de Janeiro and set up an election of new officials for the national amateur boxing body.

But for whatever it could be worth, we will offer here the core of a magnificent program crafted and sent into orbit by the late Don Jose Sulaiman, longest serving president of the World Boxing Council.

The program, which could easily pass for an informal national boxing academy, has been mainly behind the parade of Mexican world boxing greats, starting from the legendary Ricardo Lopez, Julio Cesar Chavez, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez. The academy has also produced a culture of well-rounded Mexican ring warriors, all with sound scientific basics, and continues to help mold crafty calibered combatants in that country today.

* * *

The event was the 1993 Annual WBC Convention in Bangkok, Thailand, where the late Lope ?Papa? Sarreal Sr. was given a lifetime achievement award by the premier world boxing body.

As the lead guiding official, Dr. Sulaiman continued to lecture on various subjects like officiating, antidoping, conditioning, judging, etc. On the final day at the Novotel in Bangkok, Dr. Sulaiman waxed generous and divulged what should ordinarily be kept a secret.

Explained Don Jose: ?In Mexico, we?ve put up and opened a boxing gym for everybody at the center of the city. When I say open, everybody and anybody who wanted to box or try to learn how to box?young laborers, street vendors, stevedores, beggars, slum dwellers, even ex-convicts, market haulers, dock hands-can enlist and be screened. Of course, this is a very systematic program. It?s never to-each-his-own. We have experts who impart boxing philosophy and techniques, like tested resource persons, including former world champions. It?s actually like a schoolroom where everything necessary in order to be a sound, well-rounded warrior is transferred to the aspirants. No fee or whatever. All we require is dedication and unbending will to learn, improve and be a well-rounded Mexican warrior. No diploma or whatever is given, passing the course would readily elevate the aspirant to a four-round fighter ready to earn his first peseta.?


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Recah Trinidad.


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