IN an effort to uphold the law and show its resolve to prevent unauthorized fights here and abroad, the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) cracked the whip on boxers Rolando Magbanua and Eugene Lagos and suspended them for three months.
GAB Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra and Commissioners Mario Masanguid and Eduard Trinidad said the two boxers were suspended for “violating Art. 23 of the GAB Rules and Regulations governing professional boxing in the country or unathorized fights abroad.”
In a resolution approved unanimously by the GAB last Dec. 17, the GAB suspended the two professional boxers Rolando Magbanua and Eugene Lagos for fighting abroad without first securing the required “written authority to fight signed by the chairman or his duly authorized representative.”
Mitra, a three-term lawmaker, said the GAB has no choice but to suspend the two fighters.
“The GAB cannot accept their reasons that they do not know the requirements before fighting abroad and put the blame solely on their matchmakers,” said Mitra in a statement to members of the Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS).
“We in GAB have repeatedly announced that there is no VIP treatment in the strict implemenration of the rules and regulations governing professional boxing,” added Mitra.
Based on records, Magbanua was scheduled to fight on Feb. 16,2018 at Riverside Parkway in Austell, Georgia. But the fight failed to materialize due to “lack of training and visa processing problems.”
But Magbanua's matchmaker, Robert Yanez, said the fight was moved to another date -- March 21, 2018 -- but against a different opponent without any GAB clearance.
The GAB Boxing and other Contact Sports Division later found out that Magbanua continued to fight at the Fantasy Springs Casino in California, USA even without any written authority to fight.
“Article 23 of the Rules and Regulations states that ‘before a professional Filipino boxer may be allowed to engage in a title fight or non-title fight abroad, he must secure a written Authority to Fight signed by the Chairman or his authorized Member of the Board or Representative,” the resolution said.
In the case of Lagos, he lost a fight by unanimous decision at the Bomb Factory in Dallas, Texas last Dec. 9.
Despite a recommendation of a 30-day rest period by the Texas Boxing Commission, Lagos signed a new contract to fight - and even knocked out Emilio Sanchez -- last on March 22 at Fantasy Springs, USA
“Patuloy po tayo sa GAB na nagmamasid at nagpapatupad ng regulasyon. Para rin naman ito sa boxing at mga local fighters natin,” added Mitra.