CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Games and Entertainment Board (GAB) noted the highly active professional martial arts scene in the country in the last quarter of 2021, despite the current health crisis plaguing the country.
In total, GAB licensed 19 boxing promotions from October to December, including nine in Cebu, seven in Luzon, two in Davao and one in Bohol.
This is according to a statement released Wednesday by GAB chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra.
GAB has also granted professional licenses to several martial arts athletes to support them in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Faced with the challenges of the new Covid-19 strains in the country, Philippine professional boxing and mixed martial arts events – fueled by the enthusiasm of leading promoters, under the close guidance and supervision of the Games and Entertainment Board (GAB ), continued through the last quarter of 2021,” the statement said.
GAB also reiterated that all promotions they approved were held strictly in accordance with health and safety guidelines imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), DOH and GAB.
The most notable fight cards in Cebu held in the last quarter of 2021 were “Engkwentro Dos” and “Engkwentro Tres” from boxing startup ARQ Sports.
These two fight cards yielded two regional champions in the Oriental Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF), silver flyweight champion April Jay Abne and OPBF youth flyweight champion Johnpaul Gabunilas, both of ARQ Boxing Stable.
Abne defeated Ben Ligas via split decision to capture the OPBF silver flyweight title on October 30 in Talisay City, Cebu.
Gabunilas scored a fourth-round knockout against Jonathan Almacen to capture the OPBF youth flyweight title at the newly built ARQ Boxing Gym in Talamban, Cebu City, just days after Typhoon Odette devastated the Visayas and Mindanao.
Also, in Bohol, Director Suganob of PMI Boxing Stable won the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) youth light flyweight title against Jerome Baloro via unanimous decision on December 12 in Dauis, Bohol. /rcg
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