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News  


ABAP upgrades R/J pool


PhilBoxing.com





Jonathan Jimenez and Nazira Rakhatova.

There was only one Filipino among the 15 assigned to the pool of referees/judges (RJs) for the recent ASBC (Asian Boxing Confederation) Asian Junior Championships in Puerto Princesa. He was Jonathan Jimenez, a 45-year-old high school principal in Albay.

ABAP (Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines) executive director Ed Picson said Jimenez was elevated to two-star status after passing a stringent course in Mongolia recently. The course was split into testing in the classroom and in the ring. Jimenez has been a referee/judge since 2004. He never boxed but fell in love with the sport as a high school coach.

Picson said at least 90 percent in the ABAP pool of RJs are teachers. “We deliberately raised the standards of our RJs,” he said. “Now, everyone is at least a college graduate.” The upgrade meant cleaning up the ranks. Today, ABAP’s highest-ranked RJs are three-stars Roger Fortaleza, Cildo Evasco and Max Abalos. Fortaleza and Abalos are authorized to work in AIBA Open Boxing (AOB) events while Evasco is licensed for AOB, World Series of Boxing and AIBA Pro Boxing competitions. ABAP is the Philippines' national association that is affiliated with AIBA (International Boxing Association).

Aside from Jimenez, the other two-stars in the ABAP roster are Rolando Jose and Ludy Ceriales. The only active one-stars are Martin Sonido and Michael Monton. “They were 12 originally who passed the one-star course in Tagbilaran but two are now three-stars and three are two-stars,” said Picson. “The others have not been active so we dropped them from the rolls.”
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Picson said in the wake of dubious decisions that tainted the conduct of the boxing tournament at the Rio Olympics, AIBA fired seven five-star RJs. They were Ireland’s Michael Gallagher, England’s Mik Basi, Kazakhstan’s Rakhymzhan Rysbayev, Poland’s Mariusz Gorny, Russia’s Vladislav Malyshev, Argentina’s Gerardo Poggi and Algeria’s Kheira Sidi Yakoub. At the moment, there are no five-stars and four-stars in the AIBA pool of about 300 R/Js all over the world.

In Puerto Princesa, the 15 RJs were from 15 different countries, all of which were represented in the 15-16 age group competition except Indonesia. The only female in the lineup was Kyrgyzstan’s Nazira Rakhatova who participated as a 45-48-kilogram boxer at the World Women’s Championships in Barbados in 2010. Nazira, 26, went from boxer to R/J after the tournament.

“I love boxing,” said Nazira who made lots of eyes turn with her outstanding work as the only rose among thorns. “When I couldn’t get results as a boxer, I wanted to stay in the sport so I worked on becoming an R/J. I’ve observed Philippine women’s boxers through the years and I find Josie Gabuco to be one of the best.” During a break in the Puerto Princesa tournament, Nazira checked out the city market and brought back two shopping bags full of pearls.

R/Js are paid at least $50 a day for an international assignment and the fee could go up to $150 depending on the level of competition. They are assigned to work fights on a rotation basis, both as referees and judges. Five judges are designated for every bout, scoring on a 10-point must system each round. In AIBA boxing, decisions are either unanimous (5-0) or split (4-1 or 3-2). A scorecard that is a draw is listed as 0.
****

The Philippines was represented by pinweight Kenneth de la Paz, lightflyweight Criz Russu Laurente, flyweight John Vincent Pangga and lightweight Norlan Petecio. De la Paz and Pangga delivered golds while Laurente and Petecio crashed out in the quarterfinals. Picson said ironically, Laurente was the brightest hope for a gold.

Laurente’s father Cristino is a boxing coach and his mother Rosalinda is an ABAP national R/J. His brothers Criz Sander and Criztian Pitt are in the ABAP elite pool. Perhaps, the pedigree put too much pressure on Laurente. In his first bout, Laurente ousted China’s Cai Yujun, 5-0. But in his second appearance, Laurente couldn’t hold the fort as Kazakhstan’s Makhmud Saburkhan pounded out a win via a 4-1 split decision. Laurente swept the first round in the five judges’ scorecards but couldn’t sustain the momentum.

Picson said Laurente’s parents were on the way from General Santos City to watch the semifinals. Laurente had to beat Saburkhan so his parents could watch him fight. The pressure to win overwhelmed Laurente and Saburkhan took advantage to clinch it. Despite the loss, Picson said Laurente has a bright future and will continue to train at the ABAP camp in Baguio.

In the gold medal standings, Kazakhstan was No. 1 with six. The Kazakhs took the overall championship with six golds, two silvers and two bronzes in posting a combined record of 29 wins and seven losses. The Philippines finished fourth overall with two golds and registered a record of eight wins and two losses with a four-man lineup compared to Kazakhstan’s 13.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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