PAST and present Filipino world boxing champions, led by Sen. Manny Pacquiao, and former heads of the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) have been invited to attend the World Boxing Council (WBC) Asian Boxing Summit and 3rd Women's Convention at the Philippine International Convention Center next month.
Pacquiao, easily the biggest name in the country's long list of boxing heroes in both local and international stage, is expected to add prestige to the three-day convention scheduled Nov. 16-19.
“The presence of Sen. Pacquiao and the other former world champions, as well as former GAB officials, will add prestige to the WBC Convention which we are hosting next month,” said GAB Chairman Abraham "Baham" Mitra in a statement sent to the Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS).
The three-time lawmaker from Palawan, who was elected to the GAB post by President Duterte in 2016, said the WBC Convention is a good opportunity for the country to show its best face to the world.
“This is a good opportunity for our boxing community, especially our champions, to meet WBC officials and show our world-class Filipino hospitality,” added Mitra, under whose leadership GAB earned the “WBC Commission of the Year" award in Baku, Azerbaijan last year.
Pacquiao won his first world title when he knocked out Chatchai Sasakul of Thailand in the eighth round of their WBC flyweight championship on Dec. 4, 1998.
Also expected to grace the occasion are IBF junior bantamweight champion Jerwin Ancajas, IBO bantamweight titlist Michael Dasmariñas and WBO minimumweight king Vic Saludar.
Aside from Pacquiao, past WBC champions invited to attend are Luisito Espinosa, Rolando “Bad Boy” Navarrette, Gerry Peñalosa, Brian Villoria and Nonito Donaire.
Former GAB chairpersons Juan Ramon Guanzon, Eric Buhain, Eduardo Villanueva, Dominador Cepeda, Francisvo Sumulong and Ambet Antonio are also invited to attend.
Earlier, Mitra announced that boxing greats Gabriel “Flash” Elorde and Pedro Adigue, former WBC president Justiniano Montano and WBC secretary-general Rodrigo “Rudy: Salud and international matchmaker-promoter Lope “Papa” Sarreal will be honored with posthumous awards during the convention.
“Our five posthumous awardees have brought immesurable honors to the country through their achievements in boxing and it is only fitting that we honor them again now with the whole boxing world watching us during the WBC convention,” said Mitra.
No less than WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman, WBC International Secretary and WBC Cares International Chairperson Jill Diamond and WBC Women’s Championship Committee Chairman Malte Muller-Michaelis will attend the convention and lead delegates in paying tribute to the five great Filipino boxing personalities.