After ALA’s closure, Pinoy aspiring boxers need new avenue to start career, says analyst

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 18 2020 09:29 PM

After the famed ALA Boxing gym in Cebu folded, the hope is that one day a similar venture would emerge to help aspiring Filipino fighters.

Although there are several local fight promotions, only ALA, which helped to produce a number of world champions and title contenders, had a tie-up with a TV network to market its events and boxers.

But the Cebu-based promotion took a big hit when the coronavirus pandemic broke out, a downfall exacerbated by longtime broadcast network partner ABS-CBN being refused a franchise to air via free TV.

This forced ALA, which produced the likes of Donnie Nietes, Milan Melindo, Albert Pagara and even Gerry Penalosa, to close shop after 35 years of operations.

"Ang laking kawalan ang ALA Promotions, lalo na because ALA had a tie-up with ABS-CBN, the boxers had TV coverage," boxing analyst Ed Tolentino said.

"I hope that the other boxing promotions will pick up the cudgels. But very important kasi yung may TV tie-up. Gusto ng mga boxers natin yung nakikita sila sa TV, it pumps up their confidence."

Tolentino said that before ALA came to existence in 1985, budding Filipino fighters were forced to fight abroad in mismatches.

He said the practice was used to pad the boxing records of foreign boxers.

"Our boxers were sacrificial lambs to up-and-coming Japanese, Korean boxers. They got no respect and were fed with very little preparation," he added.
 
Tolentino said that it would be ideal to have several big promotions in the country that will help groom future boxing champions.

"Maganda kasi na aktibo ang mga boxing promotions dito sa atin. This gives our boxers their own playground, a chance to hone their skills here," he said.

"What we all want is a boxing landscape like Japan, where there are so many boxing promotions and the boxers really get to hone their skills right in their own backyard."