December 1, 2023

Sports promoters in the Cordillera led by Brico Santig of Highland and Darwin Miller Dep-ay of DMAD Boxing Promotions hope to stage a boxing event before the year ends. 

Santig, whose boxing stable is based in La Trinidad, Benguet, said they have been scouting for a venue for a possible boxing match in the locality within the year. 

The Cooyesan Hotel Plaza gym along the Quirino Highway is one of the possible venues for local boxing, but one of the gym owners, Anson Tiu Co, has retired from boxing promotion.

The gym has been put in the boxing map as it was where eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao trained for some of his blockbuster fights in the past.

But with Co already retired from boxing promotion, Santig and Dep-ay are still looking for a possible venue for the event, which can be viewed via live streaming.

Santig said it would also depend on the local government units if boxing will be allowed to be staged in the localities.

He added staging a promotion during the pandemic is challenging considering the cost as well as the health and safety protocols that need to be followed.

Dep-ay, also the creator of Pinoy boxing prodigy blog, said coming up with a promotion in the Cordillera requires bringing in boxing officials who are mostly from the lowlands.

It would take roughly P250,000 to P300,000 to stage a non-title 10-bout event during normal conditions and the figure is expected to double during the pandemic.

Dep-ay said it would be costly to stage the boxing match since the people involved in the event would have to undergo RT-PCR testing.

The fighters, trainers, and staff would also need to stay within a bubble. Organizers would need to house the fighters and personnel depending on how long they would stay in the locality.

Despite this, the promoters are hopeful that the local boxing industry would soon get back on its feet.

Santig hopes concerned LGUs will renew their support for boxing, which is usually held during special events in the locality where they can have an opportunity to tie up with the LGU. 

Cebu-based Omega Sports Promotions is the first in the country to hold a groundbreaking bubble boxing card last Oct. 7 at the International Pharmaceuticals Inc. compound in Mandaue City, Cebu.

The Games and Amusement Board-sanctioned event was held in closed doors with GAB officials watching and will be later released on Omega Boxing Gym social media account. – Ofelia C. Empian