MANILA -- Philippine boxing has suffered a big hit with the demise of ALA Boxing Promotions, which created the popular Pinoy Pride boxing series.
ALA Boxing and its boxing gyms were forced to close shop due to the losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the shutdown of ABS-CBN's free television broadcast.
"Local boxing just took a direct hit on the chin," said fight analyst Ed Tolentino.
"I hope that this is just a knockdown and that they will be able to beat the count."
Games and Amusement Board chairman Baham Mitra said ALA's closure is a big loss for the local sports industry.
"The ALA which has been owned and managed by the Aldeguer family for 35 years will definitely be a big dent to the boxing world in the Philippines. Their group will be sorely missed," he said.
"We hope that new promoters with similar dedication in the boxing industry can fill in for ALA's absence."
Boxing analyst Dennis Principe said ALA Boxing's greatest contribution was its fight promotions.
The outfit proved that a Filipino entity is capable of organizing world-class events, he said.
"Saddening kasi kasi it's a fact na ang laki ng contribution nila sa Philippine boxing... They elevated the boxing promotion to the point na pang-international level na," said Principe.
"Hindi lang sila ang nag-gain. With all of their programs, the entire Philippine boxing nakinabang sa ginawa nila."
ALA Boxing, which launched the careers of former world champions Gerry Penalosa and Malcolm Tunacao, was established in 1985 by Cebu boxing patron Antonio Aldeguer.
His son Michael later took over in 2006 to manage the business.
It created the Pinoy Pride series that made stars out of Donnie Nietes, Albert Pagara, Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista, and Z Gorres.
Tolentino said the promotion was not just about boxing.
"It was about keeping kids off the streets and giving them a path, a goal in life," he said.
"Saving a prayer for the boxers, staff, and everyone in ALA."