Sen. Manny Pacquiao with PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez during the presscon for the PSC-Pacquiao Amateur Boxing Cup at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila last Dec. 12. (Photo by Rey Nillama)
By LITO DELOS REYES
SEN. Manny Pacquiao believes that the first Olympic gold of the Philippines will come from boxing.
That is why he is reviving the “Go for Gold” amateur boxing program with the Philippine Sports Commission.
Billed as the “PSC-Pacquiao Amateur Boxing Cup”, the nationwide grassroots program will start with the Mindanao Preliminary competition on December 16 and 17 in General Santos City.
“I believe na mas madali tayong makakuha ng Olympic gold sa boxing,” said Pacquiao during the press conference held at Athlete’s Hall of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
Also present at the launching were PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez, PSC Commissioners Ramon Fernandez and Charles Maxey, reigning IBF world super flyweight champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas and supervising tournament director Rogelio Fortaleza.
More than 1,000 boxers both male and female from all over the country are invited to join the tournament, which will have its National Finals on May 5 also in General Santos City.
The categories in the Junior Boys and Girls Division (15 to 16 yrs. Old are the Pinweight (44-46 kg.), Light flyweight (48 kg.), Flyweight (50 kg.), Light Bantamweight (52 kg.) and Bantamweight (54 kg.) while in Youth Boys (17-18 yrs. Old) are Light flyweight (46-49 kg.), Flyweight (52 kg.), Bantamweight (56 kg.), Lightweight (60 kg.) and Light Welterweight (64 kg.)
The Youth Girls (17-18) only has four weight categories – Light Flyweight (45-48 kg.), Flyweight (52 kg.), Bantamweight (54 kg.) and Featherweight (57 kg.).
The cut-off date in the Junior is from 2001-2002 while in the Youth is 1999-2000.This is open to all amateur boxing clubs, organizations, teams and local government units. However, only one team per LGU/team is allowed to participate.
“We will get the outstanding boxers to join the national training pool in Baguio City,” said Ramirez.
Cash incentives will be also given to the gold, silver and bronze medalists.
After the preliminary in Gensan, the Mindanao Quarter Finals will be conducted in Kidapawan City on February 10 and 11 while the Mindanao Semi-Finals will be in Cagayan de Oro City on March 3.
The Mindanao Finals will be hosted by Davao City on March 24.
For Luzon, the preliminary is on January 27 and 28 in Sorsogon, Quarter Finals on February 24-25 in Lucena City, Semi-Finals on March 17 in Pangasinan and Finals on April 7 in Baguio City.
In Visayas, the preliminary is on February 3-4 in Ormoc City, Quarter Finals on Feb. 17-18 in Bago City, Semi-Finals on March 10 in Antique and the Finals on March 31 in Maasin City.
The National Championships will have its preliminaries on April 14-15 in Mandaluyong City, Quarter Finals on April 21-22 in Tagbilaran City, Semi-Finals on April 28 in Tagum City and Finals on May 5 in Gen. Santos City.
Pacquiao also visited the facilities of RMSC including the quarters of the PH national boxing team. He also gave the boxers an early Christmas gift of P26,000 cash.