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Abandoned Boxing Gym Owned by ALA
« on: December 06, 2017, 04:41:43 AM »
TAGBILARAN CITY, December 5, 2017 (PIA)--The canvas has gathered dust, gloves eerily hung in the lockers and the sound of shuffling feet and occasional thump of gloves hitting the punching bags, the grunt of air as a hook finds its marks on sparring partners have long been silenced, the training gym has long been closed.

The gym, located on a small lot along the national highway in Taloto District of this city has seen the rise and fall of Boholano boxers: Rey "BoomBoom" Bautista, Aj Bazooka Banal, Cesar "The Czar" Amonsot and the most promising Filipino boxer closest to grab a world title, Mark Magnifico Magsayo.

Owned by the region's premier boxing firm ALA Promotions, the gym has long been padlocked when the owners decided to transfer their base of boxing training operations to nearby Cebu.

Tagbilaran City raised boxer and concurrent World Boxing Organization international Featherweight Champion Mark Magsayo who is fighting to defend his belt, said he had fond memories of the gym.

"I used to sell ice cream and pass by the gym, until one day, somebody asked me if I liked to fight. I quickly said yes I do," Magsayo, who is in Tagbilaran to fight a Japanese contender for the right to fight World Boxing Organization's featherweight division champion Oscar Valdez, told media during a press conference weeks ago.

Magsayo was then nine years old and the guy whom he talked to was the famous Antonio L. Aldegeur, founder of ALA promotions, the country's premier boxing promotions firm associated with Golden Boy and Top Rank, two of the world's top boxing promoters.

Michael Aldegeur, ALA Chief Executive Officer, also said he saw the promise of Magsayo when he was here in Bohol promoting the Boomboom fight, when the firm also officially started Magsayo’s career.

Magsayo has now picked the leather gloves to fight it out of the hard life and has long laid the icebox since he entered the Taloto gym.

The gym was where the Magsayo legend started.

Now abandoned with ALA still trying to decide what to do with it, City Mayor John Geesnell Yap II revealed that he would lead the city government in forging ways to get the gym re-opened, at least for the training of local boxers.

Now with a visible grassroots sports program and full flexing for local athletes, Tagbilaran City through the city mayor will initiate talks with world-class boxing promotions firm for the possible use of the boxing training gym in Tagbilaran.

At the sidelines of the press presentation of the pugilists for Pinoy Pride 43 which is billed "Battle in Bohol set 6:00 PM on November 23 at the Bohol Wisdom Gymnasium, Mayor Yap said he would try to talk with ALA promotions about the training gym.

At the same day, Michael Aldeguer confirmed they own the unused property, the temporarily closed training gym.
Aldeguer said he would still consult with the family on what to do with the abandoned gym here.

Baring its support to sports, Mayor Yap said "the City Government has always been supportive of athletes.”

The city government along with ALA promotes the Pinoy Pride 43 billed as Battle in Bohol, with Magsayo top billing the fight against Japanese Syota Hayashi.

The fight undercard are Masbateño Jeo Santisima against Indonesian Kichang Kim, Maasin-based Prince Albert Pagara against Tanzanian Mohammed Kambuluta and six more boxing pairs including Boholanos.

Aside from opportunities like this that show international exposure for Tagbilaran, the city has pushed for grassroots sports development program in boxing, but without a proper training gym.

Although part of his administration's goal is to build a city-owned sports center venue for its sports events and promoted sports activities, Mayor Yap also admitted they have to prioritize other immediate priorities like roads and drainage over sports center building.

Should the city's move result positively, the re-opening of the gym may not only be for celebrating the Boholano boxers who have, in one time or another, brought honor and pride to the province, including Magsayo, but would also firm up the local support for the grassroots training of Bohol boxers who, like Tagbilaran City based Magsayo, Talibongnon Nonito Donaire and Olympian from Jagna Roberto Jalnaiz, would relive and bring the glory of Bohol boxers as world-class fighters. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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