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Springboard raises P2-M in boxing show

World-ranked Rodel Mayol scored a seventh round technical decision over Ernesto Rubillar to retain his Orient and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) minimumweight title at the NBC Tent in the Bonifacio Global City last Friday but the big winner was the Springboard Foundation for netting about P2 Million in the charity event capped by the fight.


Over 500 patrons–dressed to the nines–paid P3,000 a ticket to support Springboard’s fund-raiser for underprivileged children and their families.


The black-tie affair, dubbed "The Live Match," featured a sit-down dinner catered by Le Souffle, live and silent auctions of sports memorabilia, Pops Fernandez serenading the audience, the Knockout Dancers in a Las Vegas showgirl-style routine and five bouts.


Springboard chairman John Milne, the principal of Brent International School in Pasig, said it took a year to organize the event. He thought of boxing as the centerpiece to celebrate the Filipino’s achievements in the sport.


Milne, 35, was formerly a teacher in the British School here and has lived in Manila for seven years. A former pro soccer star for Aberdeen in the Scottish league, he studied at Dartmouth University in New Hampshire and earned a Master’s degree in education at Bristol University in England.


"I applied for a foreign assignment in 1997 and it was fate that I landed in Manila," said Milne. "I love the Philippines and the Filipino people because of their warmth and friendliness. My wife Helen and I got involved in communities because we felt there was something we could do for underprivileged Filipinos, especially children."


Milne and Annette Helbig formed Springboard two years ago to finance charity projects with an emphasis on providing needy children and their families with a variety of programs and services to address basic needs. Springboard’s projects are anchored on the four pillars of support, namely, homes and orphanages, nutrition and livelihood, medical care and equipment and education. Among Springboard’s partners include the Kinderhlife Philippinen in Leyte, the Give A Life Foundation in Manila, the Tulay Foundation in Alabang, the Hope Worldwide in Payatas, Ospital ng Maynila, the Fabella Maternity Hospital, Tuloy sa Don Bosco, the EVA Charity Foundation, the Little Children’s Home, Batang Pinangga Foundation in Cebu, the Sun and Moon Home for Children and the Rehoboth Home for Children.


Since its establishment as a non-profit Filipino independent charity organization, Springboard has raised over P5 Million.


Milne said the Foundation has no political agenda, is transparent in its activities and finances and is governed by seven trustees dedicated to improving the lives of impoverished children through the development of long-term projects.


Helbig, a German, has lived in Manila for 19 years with her husband Rainer and their four children, three of whom were born here. She dedicated the proceeds from the sales of her acclaimed coffee-table book "Dignity and Courage" to help poor Filipino children. The book contains her black and white photographs of Filipino children and insightful poetry.


Like Milne, she is committed to promote healthy and nurturing environments for Filipino children. Helbig is the Springboard president.


Boxing took a backseat in "The Live Match."


Celebrities who attended the affair included Alaska coach Tim Cone and wife Cristina, TV hosts Dyan Castillejo and Marc Nelson of "Sports Unlimited" and cagers Eric Menk, Alex Compton, Zaldy Realubit and Bonel Balingit.


A professional auctioneer prompted the live bidding for sports memorabilia. Topping the money list was the mahogany framed 16" by 20" and Upper Deck-authenticated "Sandstorm" photograph signed by Tiger Woods. It went for P220,000. The English rugby World Cup shirt autographed by Wilkinson, Woodward and Johnson was sold for P180,000. A signed Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls No. 23 jersey encased in glass brought in P165,000. An autographed and authenticated Muhammad Ali Everlast glove in a frame was bought for P160,000. A 1975 "Thrilla In Manila" poster was taken for P100,000. In sum, the live auction raked in P1.2 Million.


A silent auction of other memorabilia contributed about P200,000 and raffle tickets added some P150,000. Net of expenses, the event raised an estimated P2 Million.


The fisticuffs added to the excitement.


First, former world champion Gerry Peñalosa displayed flashes of brilliance in outboxing Robert Dalisay in four two-minute rounds. Peñalosa peppered Dalisay with combinations and was hardly touched in the exhibition. Then, unbeaten teenager Mercito Gesta dropped Sherwin Dagohoy once and scored a six-round majority decision in a grudge rematch. Next, undefeated flyweight prospect Benedict Suico floored Jong Jong Gagarte twice and took a trip to the canvas himself before picking up an eight-round majority decision.


In the 10-round semifinal, late substitute Rexon Flores pounded out a split 10-round decision over journeyman Jerry Pahayahay.


Finally, Mayol decked Rubillar in the second round and claimed a technical decision after referee Bruce McTavish ruled the unbeaten Mandaue titlist unfit to continue due to a cut over his right eye inflicted by an accidental butt. Judge Salven Lagumbay scored it 70-60, Edwin Sese 69-61 and Teddy Alivio 68-62, all for Mayol who raised his unblemished record to 18-0, with 14 knockouts.


Mayol’s manager Joy Ouano, who owns the Stonewall Boxing Stable of Lilo-an, Cebu, said she hopes to negotiate a world title crack for the OPBF titleholder before the year ends. Ouano’s chief backer Terry Carter said he will attend the International Boxing Federation convention in San Francisco next month to pin down minimumweight champion Daniel Reyes of Colombia for a title defense here.


Fight promoter Edgardo (Boy) Cantada and his son Gerard assembled last Friday’s fight card for telecast on "Fistorama" over RPN-9 and the world-wide Filipino Channel of the ABS-CBN network.

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