Boxing card awaits go-signal
Metro Manila hasn’t hosted a pro boxing card since the pandemic struck in 2020 but if IATF approves, the breakthrough will come at the Elorde Sports Center in Sucat on Oct. 23. Promoter Johnny Elorde hopes to stage an eight-fight, 54-round show and GAB chairman Baham Mitra said yesterday the government agency is working on it to be given the go-signal. So far, 20 boxing promotions have been held in the country during this pandemic but none in Metro Manila. There were two world championship fights that took place in Biñan featuring Vic Saludar and Robert Paradero for the vacant WBA minimumweight crown and in General Santos City with Rene Mark Cuarto dethroning IBF minimumweight titlist Pedro Taduran. Fights have also been held in Tarlac, Pangasinan and Cebu but never in Metro Manila because of health and safety restrictions.
Elorde said boxers and trainers involved in the show are now quarantined in a bubble setup at the Elorde Sports Center which has training and dorm facilities. They’ve been isolated at the Center since last Saturday. Tests are being done twice a day to guarantee everyone’s safety. With GAB’s assistance, Elorde has reached out to IATF chair/DOH secretary Francisco Duque and MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos for clearance to stage the card with strict protocols. Metro Manila is under Alert Level 4 up to Friday when there will be a reevaluation. Under Alert Level 4, “all contact sports are prohibited except for those held under a bubble-type setup catering to IATF’s guidelines and approved by the concerned LGU.” Elorde said the Center’s bubble setup conforms to the strictest standards imposed by IATF and MMDA.
If clearance is given, this will be a major test case and a successful staging will provide a workable template for other promoters to follow in Metro Manila. The challenge is to lay the groundwork for a “new normal” in Metro Manila where pro boxers may be allowed to continue earning a living from the sport.
Elorde’s card will showcase three formerly world-rated fighters making a comeback after failing in bids to win a world title. In the 12-round main event, Giemel Magramo takes on Jay-R Raquinel for the vacant OPBF flyweight diadem. The title was once Raquinel’s so he’s looking to regain it. Magramo was stopped by Junto Nakatani in a Tokyo tussle for the vacant WBO flyweight crown last year and is itching to return to contention. His record is 24-2, with 20 KOs compared to Raquinel’s 12-1-1, with nine KOs. Mig Elorde lost to Emanuel Navarrete by a knockout in a WBO superbantamweight championship fight in Las Vegas in 2019 and reenters the ring against Aroel Romasasa in a sixer. Elorde’s record is 28-2, with 15 KOs compared to Romasasa’s 11-9, with five KOs. Romasasa won his first 11 outings then lost his next nine. Then, there’s Jonathan Taconing who was halted by Kenshiro Teraji in a WBC lightflyweight title match in Osaka in 2019. Like Magramo and Elorde, he’s hoping to get back on track with a win over Albert Alcoy in a sixer. Magramo’s brother Arvin takes on Jerry Francisco in a tenner for the WBO Oriental lightflyweight crown in the chief aperitif. In the four-round curtain raiser, China’s Yitao Guo battles Nico Perez. If Elorde pulls it off with IATF’s backing, it will mark another first in GAB’s campaign to reactivate pro sports in Metro Manila in this pandemic.
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