ABAP reg’l head disapproves Barriga, Suarez in joining AIBA pro slugfest

January 17, 2015 2:56 am 

By Lolito T. delos Reyes

DAVAO CITY, Jan. 16 (PNA) — The regional head of the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP) did not approve the participation of light flyweight Mark Anthony Barriga and lightweight Charly Suarez in the international governing body of the Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur (AIBA), or known as International Boxing Association’s pro boxing tournament which will be launched in March, this year.

Gene Rose Tecson, also team manager of the Davao del Norte Boxing Team said she did not remember any ABAP meeting discussing it.

"But if I were asked, Yes I don't approve of them fighting in pro events when they are amateurs," said Tecson.

Barriga and Suarez were part of Barangay UNA Boxing Team – a grassroots sports development program in Panabo City by then-Representative Tony Boy Floirendo. It is now called as the Davao del Norte Boxing Team supported by Rep. Anton Lagdameo, Rep. Anthony del Rosario and Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario.

The Barangay Una Boxing Team was able to produce a lot of national and regional champions, who were later recruited to the Philippine national boxing team, including Barriga and Suarez.

"Well, it's not our call already, they're under Abap's wings," Tecson said.

"The moment a boxer goes up the ring to fight without his headgear, then he ceases to be an amateur. AIBA Pro Boxing is already a misnomer because how can an amateur body host a professional game?" Tecson said.

Now, the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) wants Barriga and Suarez to secure a professional boxer’s license from the GAB for the year 2015 and to also secure an “Authority to Fight” from the governing body for pro sports “prior to every fight abroad.”

GAB is the government agency tasked with the supervision and regulation of professional boxing and other professional sports”. GAB said that they had earlier communicated with ABAP and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) “regarding your participation in the AIBA professional boxing tournament because the same involves the payment of purses, prize money and even contractual income.”

Both Barriga and Suarez had already received separate letters from GAB chairman Juan Ramon Guanzon.

A news report said that ABAP president Ricky Vargas has set up a meeting with chairman Guanzon next week to discuss the issue.

The Philippine Olympic Committee had earlier expressed concern over the absence of Barriga and Suarez from the Philippine team to the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore in June, fearing that as a result what the POC believes would be two sure gold medals will be lost thereby affecting the overall chances of the Philippines for a fourth place finish compared to its dismal seventh place in the last two SEA Games competitions.

"(The country) loss two sure gold already", said PSC Executive Director Atty. Guillermo Iroy Jr. if Barriga and Suarez will not don the colors in the SEA Games.

ABAP, however, assured the POC that it would take “full responsibility over the boxing team’s stint” while Vargas claimed that the decision not to field Barriga and Suarez in the SEA Games “doesn’t bother them as the association believes that those who will take their place are equally capable.”

AIBA had picked the two Filipinos to take part alongside seven of the other top fighters in their weight divisions in the tournament where the boxers won’t fight “in the traditional amateur style”.

The AIBA event offers hefty cash prizes to the winners and that the POC feels that the participation of Barriga and Suarez creates “a conflict with the athletes obligation to the government” since the two boxers are classified as “elite athletes” and are receiving a Php 40,000 monthly allowance.

ABAP said the SEA Games is not an event recognized by AIBA and that by competing in its pro tournament, Barriga and Suarez “will gain exposure and experience fighting the best” with opportunities to qualify for the Olympic Games which is the prime goal.

ABAP said that it will even be an advantage for the boxers competing in the AIBA pro tournament will have three chances to qualify for the Olympics while boxers who don’t will have only one.

"ABAP recognizes SEA Games but they have level up the system thru ranking which is good also, meaning classifying the boxers level under the auspices of ABAP. Hopefully issues will be resolved fast," Iroy said. (PNA)



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