Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra expressed satisfaction with the way the Omega Sports Promotion organized the first ever boxing event in the country under strict protocols because of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“Professional boxing is back in the Philippines,” said Mitra in a message Thursday to Manila Bulletin.
“The promotions followed health protocols in conducting the first ever pro boxing in the country. Boxers and ring officials were subjected to isolation just like in a bubble for 14 days before the fight with swab tests and rapid tests.”
“Strict health protocols were implemented in the weigh in and during actual fight day,” said Mitra.
The four-card fight saw World Boxing Association (WBA) South light flyweight champion Ronnie Vecilles score a fourth round knockout victory over Baguio City’s Junuel Lacar Wednesday in Mandaue City, Cebu.
Vecilles, ranked No. 10 in the World Boxing Council (WBC) ratings, delivered the knockout punch on Lacar at the 1:47 mark of the fourth round of their scheduled 10-round encounter.
The event was held in a “bubble” at the International Pharmaceuticals Inc. (IPI) owned by Omega Boxing Promotions chief Pio Paulo Castillo III, who, together with vice president Jerome Calatrava, pushed through with the event in hopes of giving the local boxers means to earn a living after they struggled during the lockdown because of COVID-19.
Aside from Vecilles, fellow Omega boxers Christian Araneta, Penitente Apolinar and Carlo Bacaro also scored contrasting wins.
A former WBC Asia silver champion in the light flyweight division, Araneta won via unanimous decision against Richard Rosales from Bohol in their 10-round flyweight division match.
Apolinar, on the other hand, also scored a unanimous decision victory against Cagayan de Oro’s Jetro Pabustan in their 10-round featherweight fight, while stable partner Carlo Bacaro won via technical knockout opposite fellow Cebuano Jeff Stella in a six-round welterweight match.
Mitra said he is optimistic that what Omega Boxing Promotions did should serve as a template for other local boxing outfits hoping to stage an event.
“This professional boxing promotion has signaled the return of the professional boxing industry in the Philippines as part of the new normal during this period of COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mitra.
“GAB appreciates the hard work of Omega Sports Promotion and Omega Boxing Gym for initiating it and by serving as a prototype for other pro boxing promotions to come.”