Mitra alarmed over Thai results
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - August 29, 2019 - 12:00am

GAB chairman Abraham Mitra has carefully reviewed the results of fights involving Filipinos in Thailand since the start of the year and he’s alarmed. So far, no Filipino has won in 13 bouts, six by knockout. One of the victims was former WBC flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro who was stopped by Nawaphon Kaikanha in the seventh round last May.

The last two fights were controversial and Mitra isn’t taking the results sitting down. One was a WBA minimumweight title fight between defending champion Thammnoon Niyomtrong (also known as Knockout CP Freshmart) and Filipino challenger Ar-Ar Andales last Aug. 2 and the other was a six-rounder where Siridech Deebook outpointed Romshane Sarguilla last Aug. 17.

Andales, 19, suffered his first pro defeat when Thammanoon retained his crown via a unanimous eighth round technical decision. The fight was stopped by referee Kwan Ho Jang who ruled Thammanoon unfit to continue because of a cut on his left eyelid supposedly caused by an accidental headbutt. At the time of the stoppage, the Thai appeared to be on the slide while Andales was on the upswing. It couldn’t be clearly determined if the cut was opened by a punch or a butt as a replay on Thai TV never showed the purported clash of heads.

Mitra protested the stoppage in a letter to WBA championship committee chairman Carlos Chavez, requesting “a rectification if needed in the spirit of fair play.” Chavez said a protest must be accompanied by a $10,000 fee and “a concise statement by the boxer or his authorized agent setting forth the grounds on which the challenge has been brought, arguments and authority to support and identification of other persons with a material interest likely to be affected by a decision on the challenge.”

Mitra said it’s ridiculous to charge $10,000 to protest the outcome when Andales’ purse was exactly that amount. “The IBF, WBO and WBC do not charge any protest fee,” he said. “When we protested the Pacquiao-Horn decision, the WBO reviewed it and called in independent judges but didn’t charge. I intend to bring this matter up for discussion during the WBA convention in China on Nov. 7-12. If the WBA insists on a protest fee, maybe, it should be a percentage of the protesting boxer’s purse not a flat fee of $10,000.”

Deebook’s win over Sarguilla was another sore point that Mitra brought out. Mitra complained to WBC Asia president and WBC vice president Pol. Gen. Kovid Bhakdibhumi in a formal letter that Sarguilla scored a clear knockdown in the fifth round but it was called a slip. “Considering the calls from the Filipino boxing community and the historic trend that Filipino boxers lose if they don’t knock out their opponents, the GAB is inclined to suspend authorizing Filipino boxers to fight in Thailand,” he said.

Bhakdibhumi called for an independent review of the bout and recommended an immediate rematch “to allay any fears that the outcome of the original contest could be viewed as controversial.” The Thai official assured Mitra that the WBC Asian Boxing Council will appoint three WBC Asia judges and a WBC-certified Filipino referee for the rematch in Bangkok on Nov. 16. Sarguilla, 25, has a 7-4-2 record, with 4 KOs, while Deebook, 27, totes a 19-6-1 mark, with 13 KOs.

Mitra said GAB is able to protect Filipinos fighting abroad if they secure clearance before engaging in overseas bouts. In featherweight Mark Magsayo’s case, GAB suspended him for three months for fighting in Singapore last April without clearance. The suspension will end before Magsayo takes on Thailand’s Panya Uthok for the vacant WBC Asia Boxing Council and IBF Pan Pacific featherweight titles in Tagbilaran City on Aug. 31. He said Johnriel Casimero also fought abroad without GAB approval and will be suspended three months but it shouldn’t derail plans to challenge WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete of South Africa late this year.

Regarding the recent farcical IBO flyweight title fight in Novaliches, Mitra met with IBO supervisor Steve Scott of New Zealand at the GAB office in Makati last Tuesday. Scott reportedly said it was Australian referee Garry Dean’s last tour of duty. Dean, 68, stopped the fight not once but twice in a bizarre display of indecisiveness that caused confusion in the ring.

ABRAHAM MITRA
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