What a difference a change in the leadership of the Games and Amusement Board has been. Ever since Abraham Mitra was appointed chairman, the agency that used to be known for a lot of questionable actions by officials has taken the lead in changing the way it handles professional sports, especially boxing.
It unearthed a scam by some crooked promoters and managers that endangered the lives of boxers and then instituted a deal with PhilHealth that allowed boxers to get insurance and medical exams for free.
The first one, where boxers were using fake brain scans, was quite alarming because had it gone unnoticed, we would have been sending boxers who shouldn’t be fighting to fights abroad. That one of those boxers who were discovered to have faked his brain scan later died after a sparring session shows the danger in such a practice.
In the past, whenever I met with boxing officials or those who are into boxing, they’d talk about a litany of GAB mishaps or inactions that spanned generations. But in less than a year in office, the new chairman managed to change that.
GAB has even taken to social media, posting its rankings for transparency and airing live videos of some fights.
The late Ronnie Nathanielsz was one of the most vocal critics of GAB and I think he wrote quite a scathing article against one official whom he accused of moonlighting as a second (or was it a trainer). I wonder what the fiesty columnist would say about the changes the agency is undergoing.
AZKALS IN NEPAL. The Azkals will be playing Nepal tomorrow and a win would get us to the Asian Cup for the first time. We’ve defeated Nepal before and I’m confident that given the stakes in the match, the team will be going all out to win.
However, as Bob Guerrero pointed out, there are some concerns that the team hasn’t acclimatized enough since the match will be played at 1,400 meters above sea level.
The game will be aired on ABS CBN Sports, the first time the channel will be airing Azkals matches for quite a while. I hope this is the start of a new partnership and I hope, too, that ABS CBN will pick up the airing of the PFL matches.
We need regular TV exposure for the league to grow.