To live and fight for another dayBy Sev Sarmenta
Philippine Daily Inquirer
YOU’VE seen boxing at coliseums, hotels and town plazas, but have you heard of fights being held near a tiangge (flea market)?
The familiar Makati Cinema Square along Pasong Tamo and Amorsolo Streets is now simply Makati Square with the cinemas no longer part of the mix of restaurants, shops and tiangge stalls. It remains a popular venue for those looking for bargain buys for clothes, bags and shoes.
Now also vying for shoppers’ attention on the second floor is an open space that’s perfect for a boxing promotion. Datu Bashett “Bong” Alonto has a 20-year lease for that section and hopes to make the place as “busy as Greenhills” for shoppers. But rather than just gather another collection of stalls, Alonto opted to house the Makati Square Arena, a flexible event venue, with boxing a priority attraction.
The arena area is brightly lit and can easily fit about a thousand spectators at ringside and on the second level. The airconditioning of the mall makes spectators comfortable, a departure from the hot and humid town plazas or multipurpose halls in the provinces where most weekend promotions are done.
Noel Deyto of Gold Rank Boxing Promotions holds office in the arena and hopes that the place will become the “hub of boxing in Makati,” luring foreigners and Filipinos alike to see the fights.
Last Saturday afternoon, Gold Rank teamed up with ARCI Boxing Promotions of Ryan Gabriel and Camille Razon, and SBS Boxing Promotions for a free card at the arena. Boxing clearly remains a viable venture, with a slew of up-and-coming promoters wanting a piece of the vigorous boxing scene. Gabriel and Razon, for instance, started as managers in the amateur ranks and extended their partnership by now managing professional fighters.
The bouts were enthusiastically received by a crowd that began as a small collection of curious onlookers and then bulged to about 600. In the main event, ARCI stable star Jay “Rapido” Solmiano lived up to his sobriquet by knocking out Thai Singdet Sithsaithong in the fourth round.
Solmiano remains undefeated in nine fights and is being eyed for an Oriental-Pacific title shot in the near future.
Boxing tyros and journeymen made up the entertaining card. In the four rounders, a family of boxers had twins in separate early career battles. Esteven Sayson won a unanimous decision over Joseph Saulong while his twin brother Stephen was knocked out in the second round by Renerio Arizala.
Their mother Sandra was in their corners, already familiar with the unpredictability of the sport as 11 of her 13 children are boxers. She had a ready towel for each son after their fights, amusing the crowd with the sight of motherly affection in a boxing context.
There were the journeymen like Arjet Caballes, who lost a unanimous decision to Jonard Postrano, further depressing his six-win, 22-loss, four-draw record. Twelve-year veteran Roselito Campaña ended up with a nasty gash and a technical draw with Rufino Mante after their heads clashed in the fifth round.
Boxers at different phases of their careers are hopeful that there will be more fights at the Makati Square Arena and other places in the future. Their jobs are to live and fight for another day.
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