To say that it has not been an easy two years would be a gross understatement. The economic devastation wrought about as a consequence of the pandemic needs no further elucidation.

For those in the higher income classes, fortunately for them they have sizable moolah stashes to act as a wherewithal to cushion the blow. But those in the lower brackets who live practically on a day-to-day existence had it the worst.

Unfortunately, that economic demographic includes fighters. Since they earn only via purses on a per fight basis, the lockdowns were knockout blows to most of their careers.

Ditto with most boxing promoters/gyms who were left saddled with the economic burden of looking after their fighters but with no means to recoup that investment.

A case in point was the famed ALA Boxing Promotions which was at the forefront of Philippine boxing for so many years with its avuncular approach. Its departure has left a huge void that may not be filled anytime soon.

BIG YELLOW. Fortunately, there are a few brave souls willing to carry the burden, and one of those is Big Yellow Promotions and Boxing Gym owned by dynamic spouses Seth and May Tio.

I haven’t been to a boxing gym for two years, and it was quite exhilarating to visit their gym and see up close how some of their fighters are trying to move on with their careers.

As we spoke, the background provided by the staccato rhythm of their punching got my heart pounding and made me realize how much I truly missed watching fights live.

When I arrived, Carlo Demecillo (15-5, 8KOs) was just winding up his training. On April 21, he left for Japan accompanied by trainer “Pinpin” Tepora.

He will be facing Sho Ishida (29-3, 15KOs) of Japan today, and a victory will be crucial if he is serious in taking his career to the next level, given the dire circumstances that the local boxing scene is currently in. This fight is no gimme as Ishida is a formidable opponent with power in both hands and Carlo will have to gut this one out. Carlo counts Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo as one of his favorite fighters and his eyes light up excitedly when he confesses that he actually prefers hard-nosed exchanges.

Tepora offers that he can fight both as a boxer and puncher and the team is confident of his chances.

Good luck Carlo. Make full use of this opportunity not only for yourself but for your fellow fighters as well.

LAST ROUND. It’s on my dearest mom, Elena Mayol Quijano. Happy birthday in heaven mommy. Cheers!