Taking Opportunity to Boost Philippine Domestic Boxing
By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Sat, 06 Jun 2020
As countries around the globe including the Philippines are starting to pick up the pieces of their shattered economies hit by the current Covid-19 pandemic, the sports entertainment industry also tries to reopen and thrive under a new normal regime.
Here, the biggest and most successful professional league, the Philippine Basketball Association has started to navigate its course for the resumption of its tournaments taking into full consideration the mandated health protocols.
Basketball after all remains the number one sport and among the top entertainment fares in the country.
But how about the other main passion of Filipinos, boxing?
We have not heard of anything from the biggest stakeholders of the fight sport or from its chief regulator and development catalyst, the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
The prevailing attitude seems to be wait and see.
Specifically wait for the US and other big boxing hubs to open shop and see how they fare under the new normal.
Of course of particular interest to Philippine boxing is the rescheduled world title bouts involving at least four Filipinos namely Giemel Magramo, Jerwin Ancajas, Johnriel Casimero and Nonito Donaire set in Japan and mostly the continental USA.
Magramo faces Junto Nakatani for the vacant WBO flyweight title in Tokyo in August. Ancajas is set to defend his IBF super flyweight crown versus Javier Rodriguez, Casimero collides with Naoya 'The Monster' Inoue in a high profile WBA-IBF-WBO-Ring bantamweight titles unification bout and Donaire challenges French Nordine Oubaali for the WBC bantamweight diadem all in the US still awaiting final rescheduling.
Also eagerly awaited is the return to action of our Pambansang Kamao, Senator Manny Pacquiao who is reportedly about to make a decision on who he will fight next, where and when.
It appears that if we will listen to chatters from Bob Arum and Top Rank's end, WBO welterweight titlist and pound for pound top lister Terrence Bud Crawford is in the lead pack heading to the inner rail, so to speak.
But all those are outside of the country and of our internal control mechanisms even the case of Manny who only has the say on who he fights next but not only where and when his return to the ring will eventually happen.
Meanwhile, nothing seems to be astir in the Philippine domestic pro boxing front.
Unlike ABAP which has been in the news for sometime because of its top ward Eumir Felix Marcial who has been finally prevailed upon to remain as amateur to focus first on our medal quest in the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
But instead of just waiting out on pro boxing developments abroad, I believe the GAB has to exercise its function as catalyst and convene all pro boxing organizers, players and stakeholders here to craft and chart a new course for the reopening, continuation and development of the domestic fightsport.
Resuming pro boxing in the US, Europe, Japan even China and Thailand is not much of a challenge because it is carried on television and other digital media platforms and supported by big companies which by now would be more willing to hop aboard on vehicles that will carry their advertisements.
That has not been the case here, except for some intermittent major and marquee bouts, especially those of Pacquiao, Donaire and Donnie Nietes.
But getting domestic pro boxing on TV and the digital media is more incumbent now that organizers can only rely on even limited live audience for revenue on account of the new health oriented physical restrictions. And sponsors and advertisers will only provide support if an event could reach the most audience as possible. That's really the way it is in the world of mass media marketing.
If I may offer my humble suggestion, I think this is the proper, most opportune time for the GAB and the domestic professional boxing sector to move aggressively to put the fight sport permanently or at least a considerable length of time on national free and cable television and other digital media platforms.
Philippine television itself is in the process of reprogramming, reshaping and reinventing itself in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and the new wave of digital terrestrial television technology.
Given the all time high demand for entertainment among Filipino viewers in the face of the Covid-19 crisis, I am sure that basketball--and volleyball-- should be able to ride on this demand driven transformation.
Boxing should too.
It has been long overdue in fact.
The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at email@example.com and by phone 09215309477.
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