Boxing cleared to resume by IATF, says GAB chairman Baham Mitra
ABS-CBN Sports on Jul 26, 2020 07:49 PM
(Photo: Richard Esguerra / ABS-CBN Sports)
Pinoy boxers and boxing fans have reason to celebrate after the announcement that the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infections Diseases) has given the boxing the clearance to resume.
According to Games and Amusements Board Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra the IATF has allowed boxing to return, but will need to follow a set of health guidelines.
Earlier this month, sports like football and basketball (albeit a slight delay) were already given the green light to resume practice.
“Ang nai-pasok na po namin ay practice ng basketball and football, and then yung boxing, pumayag na, na magkaroon ng boxing, provided that both boxers and the referees, they test, yung negative sila, and then after three days, laban na sila,” Chairman Mitra revealed on an episode of The Chasedown. “After testing, ico-confine sila, para hindi mahawa ulit or [maka-hawa].”
Boxing is just one of the many sports all over the world that was forced to hit pause following the exposion of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In June however, boxing returned in the United States, with Top Rank Boxing starting to put on events.
According to Chairman Mitra, boxing events in the Philippines will feature a significantly slimmed down card with a maximum of just five bouts, a far cry from the previous norm of at least ten bouts per event.
“Yung sa boxing, maximum if five bouts. Ibig-sabihin, sampung boksingero lang pwede. Dati kasi ten or fifteen, or twelve fights in a day,” Chairman Mitra explained. “Ngayon, maximum of five lang, kasi ang pinapayagan lang ay sampu.”
Before fighters can step inside the ring however, they will need to undergo testing three days prior to fight night and then remain confined or quarantined so as to avoid contracting the disease.
“These boxers will be tested three days before the fight and then they will be confined, and then weigh-in, and then fight, and then after the fight, they will also be tested,” Chairman Mitra continued. “Wala na pong rapid test yung before. Yung rapid test, after na lang. Lahat swab test para sigurado, para halos walang error.”
The swab testing, Chairman Mitra explained, is for maximum accuracy.
“We’re also scared, ano? We might be held liable na ‘Pinayagan ng GAB yan eh’. Kami naman, sumusunod lang kami sa IATF, ang sabi nila papayagan lang namin kayo mag-boxing kung negative parehas.”
Apart from the boxers themselves, the third men in the ring will not only need to be tested but are also required to wash up and change clothes after every bout they officiate.
“So even the referee will also be tested, because he will be in the middle eh, and then the referees will be asked to wear short sleeved shirts and then wash [after] every bout, change t-shirt, change uniform [after] every bout.”
Chairman Mitra added that judges will be placed further away from the ring, and only essential personnel will be allowed in the venue during events.
“Tapos yung mga judges, hindi na sila beside the ring, medyo malayo na sila. Yung commentators will be outside of the venue, and only one or two camera people will be involved, and then as much as possible, we will not be allowing yung mga 21 and below or 60 and above, except if it’s essential. For example, almost all promoters are above 60, so okay lang yan.”
As with most sports that have been able to return during the pandemic, there will be no audiences allowed.
Chairman Mitra expects the new guidelines to be released by Monday next week, and then for PBA and PFL practices to resume by the end of next week.