Philippines, 17 Oct 2019
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Successful Seminar for Boxing Referees and Judges in Cebu, Philippines

CEBU, Philippines -- A total success was the Professional Boxing Officials of Central Visayas (POB-CV) seminar for boxing referees and judges with the participation of GAB chairman Baham Mitra and international ring official Bruce McTavish.

The well-attended, highly instructive and entertaining seminar unfolded over the weekend at the I. P. I. Auditorium in the Queen City of the South, Cebu, addressing a wide variety of subjects aiming at improving the skills of pro boxing ring officials.

Topics included ethics of ring officials, rules in pro boxing, techniques for referees, principles on scoring on the 10 point must system, knockdowns, cuts, the dangers and consequences of rabbit punches and other subjects of extreme importance.

Participants watched a video on the story of Puerto Rico boxer Prichard Colon, now in vegetative state because referee Joseph Cooper failed to properly address repeated rabbit punches during Colon's tragic 2015 fight.

"Rabbit punches must not be allowed in a boxing match. Referees must quickly and decidedly act if one rabbit punch thrown," said McTavish.

Also, a good number of challenging rounds were watched by attendants for individual scoring and discussions.

Some of the rounds to score were from the the world title classic fight of Marvin Hagler vs Tommy Hearns in April of 1985, the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard vs Tommy Hearns in June of 1989, and the recent non-title rumble of Irosvani Duvergel vs Jerhed Fenderson of May of 2019 in which boxers knocked each other down in a same round.

Precisely, what judges should do when boxers knock each other down in the same chapter, how to score that? For scoring purposes, does all knockdowns have the same value?

How about the old school "a knockdown is a knockdown. In scoring a round all knockdowns have the same value," which is the Eddie Cotton school of thought?"

Or.. does the "intensity of the knock down must be taken into consideration at the time of scoring," which is the Glenn Feldman school?

Let's agree to disagree? What school should prevail in modern boxing scoring?

The hot topics were discussed openly. Some officials seemed in line with the Cotton school as it's in accordance with tradition, embraces the old school and does not try to re-invent scoring in boxing. Purists liked Cotton school. Others prefer Feldman's "intensity in the knockdown" approach.

McTavish, Alivio and Pesons. Three of the most senior ring officials in the Philippines shake hands in Cebu.

How about this one: "Could a round be scored 10-8 without a knockdown nor point deduction?"

Is it a sense of justice in rewarding an additional point to the boxer who proved absolute superiority pummeling his opponent to the maximum limit from bell to bell, having his foe on the brink of knock out? McTavish school. Some say yes.

But how about recognizing the bravery, strength and warrior heart of that very same opponent who did not give his back, did not fall to the canvas, took an unimaginable punishment in the name of boxing, but did not give up, did not surrendered, kept on fighting even in pain and bleeding badly till the round was over.

Lando Mendoza of GAB Cebu talks to participants on how to proceed in cases when boxers suffer cuts.

In fairness and justice, should that brave heart warrior spirit and commitment to boxing be recognized, and 10-9 should be fair? Some officials say yes.

The audience also watched video of the fight of Manny Pacquiao vs Narong Datchthuyawat in December of 1997, as well as the April 1985 title clash between Jeff Fenech vs Satoshi Shingaki.

In addition to judging and refereeing, the seminar also included an open boxing dialogue of the Philippine's boxing authority GAB Chairman Baham Mitra with the audience, in which anyone in attendance could ask the chairman any question on any topic related to boxing.

GAB Chairman Baham Mitral Answer Answering questions about boxing during ring officials seminar in Cebu.

During that period, Mitra answered a variety of issues, including assignments, works done, plans for the coming future, payments and increases to ring officials, conventions as well as other subjects.

After a free lunch for participants, the seminar proceeded with open discussions on officiating boxing and techniques for successful scoring.

Furthermore, veteran international third man Tony Pesons talked to the audience about critical knock downs and stoppages, and how could a referee help a boxer who has just got knocked out unconscious during the precious seconds before the doctor gets up to the ring.

Cebuano referees Nic Banal (L) and Tony Pesons talk to audience about their experiences as third men.

Filipino star referee Nicolas "Nic" Banal shared about his experiences on top of the ring and talked about why after a boxer is up from a visit to the canvas, it is important to make the fighter move forward or side to side to make sure that he is apt to continue battle.

"Safety of boxers is our primary concern. We owe that to them," said Nic, who in his younger years was a skilled super flyweight fighter.

Valuable reading materials were handed to the participants for them to take home, which includes code of ethics for ring officials and well as rules in pro boxing and guidelines for judges and referees.

In attendance during the event were GAB Cebu official in charge Arlene Olondriz, Madame Carmen McTavish (wife of Bruce McTavish), I.P. I. executive Pio Paulo Castillo, Omega Sport Promotions vice president Jerome Calatrava, ALA Promotions executive Lelaini Perpetua as well as Cebu boxing coaches and Bohol ring officials.

PBO CV member Dr. Jose Unabia hand recognition to Lelaini Perpetua of ALA Promotions and Pio Castillo of Omega Promotions during seminar in Cebu.

Pio Castillo and Lelaini Perpetua received PBO-CV recognition for their organization's work promoting boxing in Central Visayas. Their recognition was handed to them by top GAB doctor and PBO-CV board member Dr. Jose Unabia.

GAB referee Romar Embodo, who conceived the idea for seminar on July 7 together with the July 6 Liloan boxing show, was also in attendance, together with boxing photographer Levi Deresas of, judge Arnel Pasion as well as other committed ring officials who truly enjoyed the activity.

GAB ring announcer Sandi Grumo in the center receives award from Bruce McTavish and Carlos Costa.

Master of ceremonies throughout the event was GAB's popular Cebuano ring announcer Sandi "Sandiman" Grumo who also received recognition award for his work.

The enriching and fun experience is one of the several major activities planned by the Professional Boxing Officials of Central Visayas (PBO-CV).

The next activity of PBO-CV is a bonding boxing dinner to talk about the sweet science of boxing, share thoughts about current fights including the Pacquiao vs Thurman fight as well as deepen even further the feelings of brotherhood among ring officials in Central Visayas, Philippines.

The author Carlos Costa is a Panama veteran man of boxing living in the Philippines. Carlos can be reached at and by whatsapp/viber +639184538152.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Carlos Costa.

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