Boxing: Fighters, trainers feel pinch as COVID-19 leaves sport in standstill

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 10 2020 08:05 AM | Updated as of Apr 10 2020 08:06 AM

Just like a majority of the Filipino population, professional fighters are badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as the virus forced promoters to cancel their events.

Not everyone earns millions like Manny Pacquiao, and with a dearth of bouts, professional fighters are left with no means of livelihood.

"This is a very big problem for our boxers, lalo na sa mga boxers who are not yet established," said boxing analyst Ed Tolentino,

"Understand that pro boxers only earn if they actually fight, and in most cases they only receive a pittance because some of the money advanced by their managers are deducted from their paycheck.

"So talagang halos wala na sila maiuuwi."

According to Games and Amusement Board chairman Baham Mitra there are 916 licensed fighters including boxers, muay thai and MMA fighters.

The number does not include trainers and seconds, whose livelihood depends on professional fighting.

Tolentino said: "Walang pupuntahan mga boxers natin. Many earn by fighting overseas, particularly Japan, but Japan has already suspended all fight cards because of the virus."

This is why the GAB, the government agency tasked with regulating professional sports in the country, has decided to take steps to help these licensed fighters.

Mitra said his agency has been working with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to include fighters and their trainers among the beneficiaries of the social amelioration program (SAP).

"Kasi talagang no fight, no pay," said Mitra. "It’s like they are also displaced workers. They need funds for their families and training."

The GAB is currently collating the list of potential beneficiaries before turning it over to the DSWD.

Those qualified will get food or non-food assistance valued in the range of P5,000 to P8,000 each.

Mitra is hoping to get the DSWD's approval to ease the suffering of pro fighters.

"Makakatulong iyon para naman matugunan ang pangangailangan ng kanilang mga pamilya," he said.

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