GAB vows no mismatches, no feeding into lion’s dens

Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star
GAB vows no mismatches, no feeding into lionâs dens
Under GAB rules, boxers must sit out 45 days in between fights, regardless of distance, and those who lose by knockout from a blow to the head must sit out 90 days.
Braham Mitra FB page

MANILA, Philippines — GAB chairman Abraham Mitra made it clear in his remarks at the recent Elorde Awards Night that the government agency is determined to stamp out mismatches, reiterating the mandate of regulating professional boxing to protect fighters and provide a safe platform for their success.

“We ensure strict implementation of boxing rules and regulations, particularly our guidelines in the issuance of authority to fight abroad and rest period for boxers,” said Mitra, speaking before an audience that included former world champions, WBO international vice president and WBO Asia/Africa regional chairman Leon Panoncillo and International Boxing Hall of Famer and former Ring Magazine editor Nigel Collins at the Okada Hotel and Casino. “We do not allow mismatches to happen here and abroad. It’s our job to look after the boxers’ welfare even if some think we’re too strict.”

Under GAB rules, boxers must sit out 45 days in between fights, regardless of distance, and those who lose by knockout from a blow to the head must sit out 90 days. Those who are stopped by a body shot are required to sit out 60 days. Fighters seeking approval to see action abroad must have won at least twice in his last five bouts, once in the last three. They must also be rated by GAB. Mitra said the mandatory sit-outs are non-negotiable.

“We assure everyone that GAB is committed to fair regulation and supervision of boxing events,” said Mitra. “We regulate to protect, not to feed our boxers into the lion’s den in fights abroad. We check fight records of opponents to avoid mismatches. We allow non-rated, start-up fighters to fight abroad but only against similar start-up fighters. Understanding that boxing is a sport that has captured the heart of the Filipino, we persistently look for possible ways of how to help our boxers by establishing new linkages with other countries leading to better promotion opportunities. We want our boxers to have increased opportunities to reach the limelight in their career. Through proper regulation, we are encouraging our boxers to strive to be the best in the country to be given the opportunity to vie for a higher level of boxing competition and be one among the decorated Filipino boxers like Sen. Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire Jr., Jerwin Ancajas, Donnie Nietes, Michael Dasmariñas, Vic Saludar and other champions.”

Mitra said GAB supervised 867 promotions, issued 1,172 licenses, 143 permits and accomplished 64 boxer-manager contracts last year. It set a record of 744 endorsements and certifications for authority to fight abroad.

“We continue to visit and inspect boxing gyms in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and conduct consultative meetings in different regions of the country,” he said. “We encourage participation of our stakeholders for the betterment of boxing. We entertain insights for the safety of our boxers. We listen and bring GAB closer to our people and not just stay in our office. Our rules came about through constant dialogues with managers, promoters and boxers themselves.”

Mitra said GAB is particularly proud of its program to provide free medicals for boxers. This brought GAB recognition from the WBC as Commission of the Year in 2017, the first award it has ever received. “GAB and the Department of Health have renewed their agreement and it’s not exclusive for boxers,” he said. “MMA fighters will soon avail of free medicals at accredited hospitals throughout the country. A few weeks ago, some of our boxers and MMA fighters were able to avail of free dental services from a Dental Outreach Program that GAB conducted in partnership with the Philippine Center for Sports Dentistry and Dental Sleep Medicine.”

Last year, GAB hosted the third WBC Women’s Convention, WBC Asian Summit, WBC Asian Awards Night and OPBF annual meeting at the PICC. WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman’s wife Cristiane Manzur attended the event which was hailed as a huge success. “That was the only time when four major boxing conventions were held at one time and in one location,” said Mitra.

In three years at the GAB helm, Mitra said he has learned to appreciate the character of Filipino boxers. “I’ve developed a fervor for boxing,” he said. “A sport we cheer in, a sport presenting Filipino values like strong determination, perseverance, endurance and resiliency, a sport we own and is a source of national pride. GAB has followed the journey of our boxers, their fights, injuries sustained from fights, their strengths and weaknesses, their individual fighting styles, their triumphs and failures. Yet, there remains unseen in the lives of our boxers that the Elorde family continues to cherish, treasure and inspire – the making of a champion and what it means to be a champion. The Elorde Awards Night serves as a motivation to the younger generation to not just pursue winning a boxing purse but also championing the heart of the Filipino people.”

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