Jakarta—In the advent of open boxing, wherein countries can send professionals to international tournaments like the Asian Games or the Olympics, would the Philippines consider tapping pros?
Not so fast, says boxing official Ed Picson.
“Open and professional boxing are two different animals,” said Picson, secretary general of the Alliance of Boxing Associations in the Philippines. “But we are not closing the door on pros in competitions like the Asian Games.”
The world governing body of boxing, AIBA, has dropped the word amateur from its name in 2013 and is now the International Boxing Association.
In the Asian Games here, Macau used the services of a pro boxer in Ng Kuok Kun, who Felix Eumir Marcial was scheduled to fight in a men’s welterweight clash late Monday night at the Jakarta Expo Boxing Hall.
Prior to this, four boxers from the Philippines have lost in the first round, prompting the question of whether the ABAP might consider tapping pros in the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games and in Olympic qualifiers and world championships.
Picson said they might take in pro boxers in the heavier classes. The lower divisions have plenty of amateur boxers, so there was no need.
“Take the case of Macau, it lacks boxers so it got one from its pro ranks,” he said.
Picson said pros who have only recently turned pro could be considered for open tournaments, citing London 2012 Olympian Marc Anthony Barriga and Victorio Saludar, who were two of the most prominent ABAP boxers in the decade. Barrigga has fought actively in the WSB before it became inactive while Saludar is one of the top contenders in the World Boxing Organization with a record of 18 wins, three losses.
“Barriga and Saludar, I’m confident, could easily revert to three-rounders,” Picson said.
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