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Bleacher Talk: Amateur Boxing: Looking Good?


PhilBoxing.com




If you?re a boxing fan, you can?t help but feel excited with the latest developments in amateur boxing, the same amateur boxing scene where the country?s (and Cebu?s) best boxers once displayed their skills and talents as young potential stars.

For the first time in a long time, it now looks like amateur boxing is headed towards the right direction with the right set of people on board as managers of the sport. For a sport that has had its share of controversies, politics and a not-so-clean image over-all, it now looks like there?s hope. We have always believed that there is no shortage of boxing talent across the country. The main problem is that our past programs haven?t been able to nurture, harness and maximize this scenario. But it now looks like we?re all in for a surprise.

At this point, there?s nowhere else to go but up and so anything new and different from what we?ve always been doing will surely bring us to where we want to go.

For starters, there?s a need to put everyone on the same page. Everyone in amateur boxing must be united, focused and gung ho on the vision that has been set for the sport. More importantly, everyone must be willing to do what needs to be done to work for the vision and nothing else. They should be in it for the sport and not for themselves.

We then have to break up the old ways of the ?old? ABAP. With all due respect to Manny Lopez and his team, they did their best, but their sticking to the traditional way of managing the sport hasn?t brought us that Olympic gold medal or outstanding performance in international competitions. The entry of ABAP Chairman Ricky Vargas and one-time Cebu resident Secretary-General Pato Gregorio has meant an instant change in philosophy, approach and over-all management. They bring with them their experience from the corporate sector which is certainly wider and more dynamic than that of the previous management. It is this major change that has people excited for amateur boxing.

But I have to admit that being excited about the new leadership is one thing. The road to the Olympic gold will need more than just being excited. The development, conceptualization and implementation of the correct set of activities towards hitting our goals are the next crucial step in this puzzle. Again, this has to be new, different and out-of-the box. In the same way that boxing fans were surprised to hear of the names Vargas and Gregorio dipping their hands into amateur boxing, we should also expect a totally different set of activities for boxing.

Gone should be the traditional ways of maintaining only a small group of boxers as part of the national pool. Everyone across the nation should be considered as part of the national pool, and the selection of boxers to the country?s national team for international competitions must be backed up by a discriminating, unbiased and objective screening process. We also need to see more active participation in the development of the boxers nationwide and all year-round. Only with the widest base of boxers will we be able to sift through the sand and find that future Olympic gold medallist. There are hundreds of young boxers across the islands seeking to become another Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire, Gerry Pe?alosa or Donnie Nietes. But today (or in the past), we didn?t have a consistent, year-round nationwide program to work with all these boxers. If the entire country (and not just one area) is abuzz with boxing activity all at the same time, you can already imagine how much noise this will create in the boxing scene. And you can be sure that someone (or surely more than one) will stand out to become another world beater. For once, it now looks like our young amateur boxers have a reason for staying on as amateurs for as long as they can without being forced to turn professional prematurely for the sole purpose of earning money.

Money will always be an issue, but with the initial support of PLDT-Smart and the knowledge that there is a new set of leaders, you can bet that more companies from the private sector will be willing to help out. Other thorny issues that also need to be addressed will be the training of trainers to uplift the standards, and the need to keep boxing referees, judges and officials in ?good shape.?

All this and more were discussed at the ABAP Boxing Congress in Bacolod last week. It is our wish that the congress will finally see the ABAP break out of the old ways and move into something new, fresher and more certain of working.

Yes, we?re excited. But the job up ahead is huge, and it?s time to get to work.

oOo

Time-out: All CYBL teams must submit their registration forms and requirements by Wednesday, January 28. >>> You can reach me at bleachertalk@yahoo.com.

Top photo (L-R): ABAP Chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, Congressman Monico Puentebella and ABAP President Ricky Vargas during last week's boxing congress in Bacolod City.


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


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