GAB Chairman Abraham Mitra (extreme right) watching IBF world champion Jerwin Ancajas showing his belt to President Rody Duterte at the Malacanang. Also in photo are GAB Commissioner Mar Masanguid and boxer Michael Barriga. (Below) Mansueto “Onyok” Velaso, silver medalist in 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
By LITO DELOS REYES
THE Games and Amusements Board (GAB) is supporting the worldwide call for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to still include boxing in the Olympics after the IOC had earlier announced that it’s considering eliminating this great sport from the Olympics.
The IOC executive board had earlier made a threat that boxing, part of every Olympics except one since 1904, could be excluded from the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo because of leadership and ethical concerns.
“It’s going to be a disadvantage for us Filipinos as this is one sport that we can excel compared to other countries as it has weight classes,” said Mitra.
The Philippines won a silver medal in boxing in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics courtesy of Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco from Bago City, Negros Occidental. His elder brother Rodel also earlier pocketed a bronze medal in 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
“Also this is the sport we can hopefully get the much desired Olympic gold medal,” Mitra added.
Boxing is one of the six original sports enshrined in the Olympics of Greece, and it has been an integral and tremendously popular bedrock anchor of the Modern Olympic Games since 1904.
“We (GAB) join the WBC and other boxing heroes in their call to stop the removal of boxing from the Olympics,” said Mitra, who is also being supported by his Commissioners Edward Trinidad and Mar Masanguid.
The World Boxing Council headed by its president Mauricio Sulaiman has initiated a movement to invite fans and members of the boxing community to support the motion to keep boxing in the Olympics.
The worldwide reaction has been uniformly powerful and overwhelmingly supportive and resolutely steadfast.
According to WBC, “the answer has been overwhelming. In just eight days, we have received more than 10,000 signatures on paper, plus hundreds more through electronic communication in just Mexico City. And, we are in the process of collecting more signatures in other States of the country, as well as in many other countries throughout the World.”
It is also being supported by legendary champions Sugar Ray Leonard, Lennox Lewis, Vitaliy Klitschko, Evander Holyfield, Amir Khan, Yuri Arbachakov, Mairis Briedis, Jesse James Leija, Vinnie Paz, Paul Malignaggi, Viktor Postol as well as current champions Deontay. Wilder, Oleksandr Usyk, Adonis Stevenson, David Benavidez, Gennady Golovkin, Jermell Charlo, Keith Thurman, Mikey Garcia, Miguel Berchelt, Gary Russell Jr., Rey Vargas, Luis Nery, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Daigo Higa, Ken Shiro and Wanheng Menayothin; plus Yuri Nuzhnenko, Vyacheslav Senchenko, Andriy Kotelnik and Viktor Demyanenko.
The nine Continental Federations affiliated to the WBC have already sent their testimony and unanimous support by representing the resonant voice of 166 nations.
These Federations are: The African Boxing Union, Asian Boxing Council, British Boxing Board of Control, Central American and Caribbean Professional Boxing Federation, Boxing Board of the Slavic countries, European Boxing Union, North American Boxing Federation, Oriental Pacific Boxing Federation and the Federation of Boxing of the Southern Cone.
Other boxing commissions have been expressed full and unreserved support, including: FECOMBOX, (Federation of Boxing Commissions of the Mexican Republic), the Boxing Commission of Mexico City and 25 other states, as well as Ukraine, Switzerland and other countries.
The WBC statement: “The great sport of boxing embodied, symbolized and championed by its magnificent brave fighters, SHOULD NOT AND MUST NOT suffer the unjust consequences of the chronic, chaotic mismanagement of an international federation.”
“We are convinced that the International Olympic Committee will achieve a fair, sensible, reasonable and realistic understanding, reaching a viable solution, in order to satisfactorily resolve the problems that exist between them and AIBA, continuing our wonderful sport, giving opportunities to thousands upon thousands of children and young people Worldwide, who find on the fantastic Olympic platform and podium, a worthy way to succeed in life.”
The WBC said that it “will continue to support with determination, dedication and great enthusiasm the movement to maintain beloved Boxing in the Olympics.”
“Although amateur boxing and professional boxing, are distinctly different, yet complimentary in their respective styles, the one is the evolutionary conception that leads to the birth of the other. The craftsman’s apprenticeship! Combined, the sum of their parts creates a sport which has spanned the ages, generations plus history itself ancient and modern. Standing together shoulder to shoulder they have inspired, succeeded and triumphed by boosting thousands of people towards success. Nothing should destroy that natural and cohesive synergy.”