DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/8 Jan) -- The new leadership of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) is planning to set up a regional training center in Mindanao, and president Ricky Vargas wants to put it up in this city.
"We prefer to set it up in Davao City and make this city as a center for Mindanao," Vargas told sports journalists in a press briefing following a consultative meeting with the boxing stakeholders in the region.
But Vargas clarified that they would not intervene on the decision of the stakeholders as to where they want to put up the training center.
" If they have other place in mind, it would be up to them," added Vargas, who was accompanied by ABAP secretary-general Patrick Gregorio.
With regards to where to set up the training center, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William "Butch" Ramirez said boxing stakeholders across the island will discuss it during the ABAP national congress in Bacolod City on January 14-17.
Ramirez, who is a member of the board of directors of ABAP in the Davao Region, said it is best that stakeholders all over Mindanao, who are expected to attend the national congress, be consulted on the issue.
Vargas, who also held a consultative meeting Wednesday in Baguio City, came here to seek support from the stakeholders in the region aimed at helping improve the programs of ABAP.
The ABAP chief sought the help of Cotabato Vice Gov. Manny Piñol, former Davao del Norte congressman Tony Boy Floreindo and Ramirez.
"Hopefully, with their assistance we can do better for the development of the sport of boxing," said Vargas.
Piñol said they have gone out their way in helping boxing in the country but the problem is with ABAP. "ABAP is very exclusive. They don’t want others to help them. They are not even helping local chapters, " Piñol said, referring to the previous ABAP leadership.
Having a good program and a bunch of potential boxers, Piñol pointed out, "we just need a little help".
For his part, Ramirez said that the set up of the coaching staff needs to be overhauled because some of them have been there for many years.
With the training center, according to the PSC chief, ABAP can get the best coaches and conduct coaches’ leadership seminars, among others.
"It would help us take a smooth quality development of boxing in the country," said Ramirez.
Vargas visited the boxing facilities at the back of the Davao City Recreation Center where more than 20 boxers have been training hard. His observation: "It’s not in good shape".
"But there are lots of potential young boxers, " he noted. (Rico Biliran / MindaNews)