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WBC Convention: A memorable night in boxing — Mitra

WBC : World Boxing Convention
World Boxing Convention (WBC) officials and participants during the welcome dinner hosted by GAB chairman Baham Mitra at Sofitel Philippine Plaza last Friday night. Photo courtesy of Genie Villota.

IN a historic night in boxing, the Philippines rolled out the red carpet to formally welcome more than 500 delegates from 17 countries to the 3rd World Boxing Council (WBC) Women’s Convention and Asian Summit at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza last Friday.

No less than Games and Amusement Board (GAB) chairman Abraham “Baham: Mitra led the  well-wishers who treated the foreigners to a fun-filled   evening showcasing the  world-class Filipino hospitality

“This is really a good and memorable night in boxing, said Mitra, head of the local government body  in   charge of professional sports, in  his   welcome  speech.

“I  welcome all of you here in Manila in behalf of the Filipino people, who love boxing, and whose  leading national sports hero, Manny  Pacquiao, is  a world boxing champion,” added  Mitra, who left  no stone unturned  to ensure the success of the three-day convention being held in the country for the fourth time since 1956.

Mitra said  it is the  first WBC Women’s Convention  to be staged  outside of  Mexico  after the inaugural edition  in Playa del Carmen in 2014 and the  second in Tijuana in 2016.

“In the WBC Convention,  there will be discussions on the past, present and future of the sport of boxing. The delegates  will a ddress  challenges, possibilities and risks and celebrate and honor the many strong and powerful men and women who have made an impact, inside and outside of the ring,” added Mitra, a former  three-time lawmaker from Palawan.

WBC Cares international chairperson Jill Diamond of the US said the convention will be inclusive and interactive, setting the tone for fresh ideas and directions.

Also attending the convention are  WBC  president Mauricio Sulaiman’s wife Christiana Manzur, who  delivered  the welcome  address  on  Saturday morning;  WBC women’s championship committee chairman Malte Muller-Michaelis of Germany, WBC women’s featherweight champion  Jelena Mrdjenovich of Canada, former WBC women’s superwelterweight titlist Mia St. John of the US, WBC diamond women’s superflyweight champion Raja Amasheh of Jordan and Mexican flyweight Sulem Urbina. Aside from the convention proper,  Mitra  has   arranged a visit of WBC Cares to the Tuloy Sa Don Bosco Streetchildren Village in Alabang  where  more than  P100,000 worth of  groceries   and toiletries, footballs and sports equipment will be donated by the WBC and GAB.

GAB and the Tourism Promotions Board  will also provide a one-day “Tour of Corregidor” for the delegates on Monday.

This is the actually fourth time that the WBC Convention will be held in the country. Manila was the site of the WBC Convention  in 1967 when two Filipinos headed the body, Justiniano  Montano Jr. as president and Atty. Rodrigo Salud as secretary-general.

It was also Salud who authored the WBC Constitution and By-Laws ratified during the 1967 Convention.

Manila  also hosted  the  WBC Convention in 1970 and 2007.

A  highlight of the  event is the Gala Dinner and Awards  Night on Nov. 17 where OPBF president Tsuyoshi Yasukochi of Japan and WBC Asian Boxing Council and WBC Muay Thai president Gen. Khovid Bhakdibhumi of Thailand will deliver messages. Posthumous awards will also be given to Montano, Salud, Boxing Hall of Fame  promoter Lope “ Papa” Sarreal, GAB chairman Luis Tabuena and former WBC champions Gabriel “Flash” Elorde and Pedro Adigue. Former GAB officials Juan Ramon Guanzon, Eric Buhain, Eduardo Villanueva, Dominador Cepeda, Francisco Sumulong and Alberto Antonio will be honored with former WBC  titleholders Rene  Barrientos,  Erbito Salavarria, Rolando “Bad Boy” Navarrete, Frank Cedeno, Luisito Espinosa, Rolando Pascua, Gerry Penalosa, Manny  Pacquiao, Malcolm Tunacao, Brian Viloria, Rodel Mayol, Nonito Donaire and Sonny Boy Jaro.

Assisting Mitra in organizing the event are GAB commissioners Mario Masanguid and Eduard Trinidad and  head of finance/administration Ofie Retardo.