In March, the Coronavirus brought sports to a halt in the Philippines. Now that new COVID-19 cases are flatlining, the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) is seeking help from the Philippines Sports Commission (PSC) for guidelines to relaunch some contact sports.
In the Philippines, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is in charge of responding to affairs involving infectious diseases. The task force is organized by the Philippine government and was first founded in 2014. The IATF has suggested that the GAB confers with the PSC on how to relaunch contact sports, particularly boxing, following the Coronavirus pandemic.
GAB chairman Bahan Mitra told the media that “There is a sense of urgency on our part because this (boxing) is the only means of livelihood of the boxers.” Mitra met with local boxing promotors last week and helped develop post-pandemic guidelines to convince the IATF to allow fights to take place. In addition to the IATF and PSC, the Department of Health (DOH) will likely have a vital role in deciding when and which sports can resume.
Some Philippine sports, including golf, badminton, and running, have already been giving the green light to resume, but no significant events have yet been scheduled. Unlike Philippine national athletes, most professional Filipino boxers do not receive money from the government and must rely on their fights for income.
Since sports were canceled in March, Filipinos have had little to bet on in regards to live sports. Betting on boxing has always been popular since so many greats hail from the islands. Brick-and-mortar sportsbooks are not allowed to offer betting lines on sporting events that take place inside the Philippines, so many residents turn to offshore sportsbooks that offer betting lines on Philippine boxing and other sports.
Boxing and other combat sports organizations will likely have to present post coronavirus guidelines to protect their athletes before any other discussions resume. If boxing is allowed to resume, it will probably be a while before fans are allowed to attend. However, boxers can take advantage of pay-per-view sales and prize money to support their families for now.
In the United States, the UFC was one of the first sporting leagues to resume following the Coronavirus pandemic. The UFC does not allow fans to attend the fights as of now but has generated substantial revenue while protecting their athletes.
Regardless of how and when combat sports in the Philippines are looking for a way to provide for their athletes and boxers should expect to see the ring again soon. In the mean time professional boxers have found creative ways to stay active while outside of the ring.
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— Nonito Donaire (@filipinoflash) November 19, 2019