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Bleacher Talk: Going International on Local Shores


PhilBoxing.com



Young Sing Kim of Korea connects with a left against Kortoranee Por Surasak of Thailand.

How do you describe a boxing event that’s held in a posh Cebu hotel? Sosyal, classy, unique; something for a change? Now what if this featured for its main event a 12-round championship bout between a Korean champion and a Thai challenger? Yes, you read it right. We had two foreigners slugging it out for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) Asia Pacific super lightweight championship here in Cebu! And it took place last night at the Waterfront Hotel.

Don’t ask me. Just like you, I’m still at a loss on how to describe Saturday night’s foreign-flavored boxing promotion organized by SGG Sports, the ALA Boxing Gym and BP Entertainment of Korea. But don’t worry if we can’t think of a name or tag for the event (for now). After all, never before have we seen something like this in the past.

Five Koreans, Two Thais, One Indonesian. That’s a total of eight visitors showing off their skills before Cebu’s boxing fans in one night. We used to have one or at the most, two foreign boxers coming over to add spice to a promotion, but having eight in one night is a major breakthrough in local boxing. But that’s not it. There was another twist amidst all these. One of the Koreans was a “she” who faced off against Cebu’s first pro lady boxer. To top it off, SGG Sports has managed to do all these without a Boom Boom, Z or Czar on top of the ring. Neither was there a Randy, Yuka, Malcolm or Rodel featured anywhere near the hotel. The unthinkable has been done. Believe it or not!

I take my hats off to SGG Sports and the ALA Boxing Gym. Just when one would think that they were running out of ideas for local boxing, they add a new gimmick to local boxing: going international on local shores.

I have to admit that I was getting worried when we local fans were already missing ALA’s big stars in local boxing promotions. They’re already marked for international duty, making their local stints rare and few. Wouldn’t you feel the same way? Moreover, the second level of ALA boxers is also starting to see action abroad, and if things go as planned, they too, will be spending more time overseas. And you can’t blame them for that. Their skills and talent are “too much” for local consumption that they don’t belong here but the bigger scene outside the country. Czar Amonsot, Boom Boom Bautista, Gerry Pe?alosa, Z Gorres, AJ Banal, Bert Batawang and Michael Domingo are all seeing action in the United States in a span of four weeks from today. Dondon Sultan just arrived from France and although he lost, he’s still considered a shoo-in for more fights overseas.

So what is left for us local fans? What kind of boxers will we now have for our big cards? Will boxing fans still make the effort to go to promotions without the likes of Boom Boom, Z and Randy?

I guess we need not worry as it looks like we’re not going to run out of good boxing now that Cebu’s best are going overseas. The unique twist here is that we’re not going to rely solely on local boxers to fill in the void left by Boom Boom and company. Welcome to Cebu Boxing our friends from Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and Japan! We can add a sprinkling of South Africans and Mexicans in the mix. Bottom line is that aside from producing the country’s best boxers, Cebu Boxing is now one of the most colorful and internationally flavored sporting hosts in the whole of Asia.

With the rise of popularity of Cebu Boxing, it looks like bringing in foreign boxers is much easier today than before. SGG Sports’ tie-up with BP Entertainment of Korea is a prime example of this development. Both sides are going to organize more boxing events both here and in Korea in a partnership that sure looks like a win-win situation. Already in SGG’s network are partners from Indonesia, Thailand and Japan.

Not to be outdone amidst this latest boxing trend is Cebu’s other big-time promoter. There are reports that Rex “Wakee” Salud is bringing in three Japanese boxers to face no less than Randy Suico, Wyndel Janiola and Jimrex Jaca on July 28. While initial reports indicated that this will be held in Cebu, it looks like Wakee is taking the show to Manila. Like you, I beg Wakee to have it held here in Cebu instead, but I guess that’s beyond our control. Cebu or not, Wakee is also going international with this promotions.

And so I ask. Is Cebu Boxing ready for this latest development? One of the things I’d like to see will be how local boxing fans are going to receive an activity like this. Are we going to see the regular boxing fans who troop to the Mandaue Sports Complex? Will the European and American boxing fans be at ringside as they always are when Cebu’s best are showcased? And while Cebu has become a second home to many Koreans, were they there to support their countrymen (and woman) last night?

Cebu Boxing has definitely made a big leap in the development of the sport. Gone are the days when local boxing meant just that: local stuff. The time is ripe to switch to high gear and last night is going to be the start of greater things to come for Cebu. Cebu Boxing has gone international for a change; doing it on local shores.

We’re now doing things differently. Innovations like these are the welcome changes that need to be infused in order to keep Cebu Boxing tops in the country and the rest of Asia. With this will come the fulfillment of our dreams: world champs.

Bored and tired with the local stuff? Go international and you won’t go wrong.

***

Time-out: Happy birthday to Pamela Uy-Cruz, Liza Ann Soriano and Erwin and Chiqui Arreza out there in the U.S.A. >>> You can reach me at bleachertalk@yahoo.com

Check out Rico's family website at http://navarroofcebu.multiply.com & read Bleacher Talk in http://bleachertalk.blogspot.com


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Rico Navarro.


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