Tourney where young boxer died not sanctioned

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014


THE Annual Fiesta of Señor San Isidro amateur boxing tournament where 14-year-old Jhonrey Amar died during an evening bout on May 15 in Barangay Sawata, Municipality of San Isidro, Davao del Norte was not sanctioned by the Provincial Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (Abap) and Amateur Boxing Referee-Judges Association of the Philippines (Abrejap) in Mindanao.

This was one of the findings that Abrejap Mindanao commissioner Celestino Revamonte and Abap Davao del Norte president Edwin Pardillo wrote in their investigation report submitted to Abap regional director Gene Rose Tecson. A copy of which was e-mailed by Tecson to Sun.Star Davao on Monday.

"The event organizers failed to inform or get permission from Abap Davao del Norte as instructed during their orientation for the conduct of the tournament, thus, it was not sanctioned and supervised by experienced Abap officials and referees who have been handling this program for several years already," the report said.

It also said that Amar's father requested for the bout to be extended for another round apparently "because of his emotional attachment to his boxer-son possibly to exact revenge and turn the tide of the bout in favor of his son".

It added that the officiating referee should have not allowed the resumption of the bout after the first round when the child was clearly outclassed and outpunched considering the recommendation of the tournament physician and supervisor to stop it, even if Amar's father requested to continue the bout.

"The boxer was made to drink water before resuming his bout which might have contributed to his loss of breath and consciousness since it would maximize the harsh effect(s) of punches in the stomach," the report stated.

ILL-FATED

The probe report also narrated the circumstances that transpired on that ill-fated night where Amar's dream of ever becoming like his idol, Manny Pacquiao, ended so soon.

In the report, Barangay Sawata Capt. Herminio Cirilo and the Barangay Council with the newly-organized Abap officials and referees in the Municipality of San Isidro organized the tournament in celebration of San Isidro's feast. Cirilo was said to have supported the event since their barangay was reputed to be a breeding ground of promising amateur boxers the likes of former Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalist and World Series of Boxing veteran Charly Suarez who also hails from Sawata.

The investigating team gathered that a total of 21 bouts were entered in the tournament where Amar, of Barangay Sabangan, was pitted against Robin Aque of Sitio Mabuhay in Barangay Dacudao, during the 10th bout. Both 14-year-old pugs fought in the school boys 41 kgs. division. It was Amar's third amateur fight on the heels of past two victories.

It was also reported that all competitors underwent mandatory medical check-up and weigh-in prior to the fight. Parents of boxers also signed consent and waivers provided by tournament officials.

The Amar-Aque fight started around 10 p.m. Amar's father, a former boxer himself, served as his coach with his uncle as assistant. A certain Mr. Carmelotes, trained locally, was the referee of the bout.

Abap San Isidro president Dr. Tomas Demecillo, also a town councilor, was designated as ring physician and tournament supervisor. Demecillo, according to the report, recalled that Aque "showed resilience and power in dominating the later part of the first round", thus, he decided to stop the fight at the end of the first round seeing that Amar was outclassed and his head gear was removed.

"He (Demecillo) gathered the score cards of the judges to sum the score. Amar's father was observed to have given ample water to his son upon reaching the corner. However, Dr. Demicillo was perplexed when he was counting, the fight resumed, apparently, upon the request of Amar's father to the officiating referee," the probe report said.

In the second round, Amar was reportedly hit by a solid punch at the midsection, knocking him down to the canvas. He was then brought to his corner as the referee stopped the fight. Amar, while still on the ring, lost consciousness a few minutes later. Demecillo then executed a CPR to help revive the teen boxer but to no avail. He then advised that Amar be sent to the Kapalong District Hospital. The boxer was accompanied by his parents, uncle and local sports coordinator, a certain Mr. Binasbas to the hospital where Amar was declared dead on arrival (DOA) due to head injury past 10 p.m.

The report said, "It was not clear whether a CT scan or X-ray procedure was conducted prior to the declaration of the cause of injury."
Demecillo reportedly learned from Amar's mother that a CPR was conducted to her son upon reaching the hospital instead of directly giving him oxygen.

"Despite the tragic accident, the parents of Amar did not blame anyone for the accident as long as they are given proper assistance for the burial of their child. The boxer was buried at the local cemetery on May 20," the report stated.

Cirilo's barangay office, meanwhile, was reported to have provided assistance for the embalming, coffin and concreting of the boxer's tomb and gave out rice and pig for the food preparation as well as vehicles for the burial. San Isidro Mayor Arnel Sitoy also extended financial aid of P5,000 to Amar's bereaved family and vehicles for the burial. Other local officials also shared their personal funds.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The report cited local Abap officials of the town and tournament organizers for following protocols like conducting the required medical check-up for all participants; implemented proper weigh-in and age and weight matching procedures to minimize if not eliminate mismatches; matched boxers according to experience; parents signed consent and waivers; boxers used necessary boxing paraphernalia such as head gears, foul protector, mouth piece, gloves and hand wrap; officiating judges and referees also underwent training and seminar for referee-judging on amateur boxing conducted by Abrejap and Abap Davao del Norte.

But the investigating team, based on the circumstances presented, recommended that all amateur boxing events and activities in the said town be immediately suspended for six months until further assessment and due consideration; that all the referees/judges, trainors/coaches and officials of the local Abap chapter will undergo re-assessment and re-orientation/re-training before any amateur boxing activities will be conducted; that all tournaments must have standby ambulance manned by competent health and rescue personnel ready for any untoward incident; that all local clubs under our jurisdiction must seek the consent and approval of the Provincial Abap and Abrejap prior to holding any tournament for proper supervision and guidance; and it must also be a requirement that a boxers and coaches briefing will be done prior to the start of a tournament to make sure that all participants are aware of the hazards of the sport and possible increase their efforts for safety and fair play.

In a text interview, Abap regional director Tecson said it was unfortunate that organizers disregarded getting sanction from the regional office.

"Binalewala nila ang caution never to hold a tournament without supervision," Tecson said.

She added that the Provincial Abap and Abrejap will meet this month to discuss the recommendations cited in the investigation report.

She also wondered why medical report showed that Amar's death was due to a head injury when, "Di naman tumama ang ulo ng boxer sa floor or anything. Hindi yata tama na just for the sake makapagbigay sila ng cause of death eh head injury kaagad nilagay ng doctor."

She added that even Dr. Demecillo was also surprised about the head injury diagnosis.

Be-medaled national team lady boxer Nesthy Alcayde Petecio of Davao del Sur, in a Facebook chat, said the officiating officials should have not resumed the fight after the doctor stopped it even if the father insisted to continue.

"Wala nalang unta to gipadayon kay doctor nagud nag ingon nga stop wala man sila maminaw. Para sa akoa mas okay nga i-stop nalang ang boxing sa mga edad 14 and below (It should have not continued after the doctor stopped the fight, they didn't listen. For me, I think it's better not to allow 14 years old and below boxers to compete at all)," the 2013 China Open champion and SEA Games silver medalist said.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 04, 2014.

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