THE Games and Amusements Board (GAB) is now looking into the legitimacy of the ‘Battle of the YouTubers (BOTY)’ – a boxing event, aired over YouTube channels and organized by certain individuals on what appears to be staged or scripted boxing matches.
In the videos, the organizers are seen pitting individual fighters into boxing matches, which were broadcasted and viewed by about 2.6 million subscribers and non-subscribers alike.
These paying patrons seemed to have enjoyed watching the bouts in the shows either as a kind of entertainment or real fight, hence appearing to be either staged or real; but from which the group appears to earn money.
GAB, however, is now keen on investigating whether the group's boxing shows can rightly be claimed by organizers, not as professional matches, hence outside the agency’s regulation.
"We always value not only the safety of our boxers but also the integrity of boxing as sports. Rest assured that we will investigate these boxing fights, and appropriate sanctions will be meted to those who will be found responsible under our existing rules and regulations," said GAB Chairman Baham Mitra.
Since its inception in the 1950s, GAB has been faithfully fulfilling its mandate to ensure orderly, safe, and health-mindful professional sports events placed under its supervision and regulation.
Very recently, in its usual vigilance to address issues and concerns within professional boxing, particularly those related to the integrity of the sports as well as the health and safety of fighters.
To date, GAB is determining whether BOTY fighters participate in the matches for a reward of sum of money or simply for the sake of some sort of acting.
The shows also seem to be claimed lacking some elements of a highly-structured real professional boxing match, such as the involvement of complete ring officials, including judges, timekeepers, and ring physicians.
The boxing shows also have no more than 3 rounds as opposed to professional fights with a minimum of 4 rounds.
Likewise, no weigh-in is conducted before the event to determine if the contestants are of the same weight category.
And more importantly, the shows consist of fighters/athletes who did not undergo proper medical procedures and clearances (hence licensing from GAB) before the match.
However, such boxing events, whether they appear or not to be scripted for entertainment purposes, have not been following the required health and safety procedures/protocols and the rules for professional boxing, if at all, is indeed a professional event.
Otherwise, if the shows were meant to be amateur boxing matches, they should have gotten official permission from the appropriate amateur boxing bodies, i.e. Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) or the Amateur Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP).
Meantime, aside from an email from one professional boxing fan, whom GAB is still trying to officially communicate and get in touch with through his physical address (though this has not been provided yet by the concerned writer, as of this writing, despite GAB’s request) to gather relevant information about the event, concerns were also aired by some professional boxing followers that the organizers might be making fun or mockery of professional boxing and basketball alike.
Chairman Abraham Mitra, however, assures everyone that GAB is now doing its part, in accordance with due process, to hold anyone responsible for violation of professional boxing rules in the boxing matches, if, at all, these matches can indeed be established as truly professional events.
Otherwise, professional licensees participating in the shows, which if found to have not secured proper permits from other local sports governing bodies, will be sanctioned accordingly.
It will be recalled that GAB, through its GAB-DOH Free Medical Program, has been advocating safe boxing, as most of the injuries or deaths of boxers here in the country were from mismatches and lack of medical services.
“We will suspend the boxers or trainers, or if not, take away their licenses if these boxing shows and their organizers are reasonably found to be exhibiting illegitimate fighting activities,” Mitra added.(Fightnews Asia)
(Photo credits to: Fightnews Asia)