Number of licensed PH boxers decreases due to pricey medical requirements
DAVAO CITY—The volume of Filipino boxers has dwindled over the years due to the costly medical requirements needed to secure a license from the Games and Amusements Board.
Department of Health secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial ended the plight of Pinoy professional fighters on Friday after she guaranteed to waive the medical fees for the annual physical testing and CT scan procedures.
“The biggest hindrance to the increase of pro boxers licensing is the strict and sometimes prohibitive medical requirements,” said GAB chair Abraham Kahlil Mitra during the Philippine Boxing Convention at the Marco Polo Hotel here.
From at least 1,000 licensed boxers in 2014, that figure plummeted to just a little over 600 fighters the past two years. Boxing promotions have also gone down by 50 percent, according to GAB commissioner Eduard Trinidad.
The regulatory and supervisory body for professional sports found out that several boxers have opted to jump out of the ring and look for other jobs elsewhere while promoters have not been as aggressive in putting together an attractive fight card.
Ubial, who graced the two-day convention as guest speaker, pledged that boxers can avail of the free annual physical and medical checkup, a requirement for GAB licensing, in the regional facilities of the DOH.
Likewise, the DOH will render CT scan and MRI procedures free of charge.
A CT scan costs as much as P4,500 to P6,500 while managers and boxers could spend at least P6,500 on an MRI procedure depending on the extent.
Mitra said GAB lawyers are in the process of drafting the Memorandum of Agreement between the GAB and the DOH for its implementation, which includes Philhealth coverage to all boxers and their families.
GAB commissioner Fritz Gaston said they would provide the list of boxers to the DOH, which will turn over the names to its regional offices, allowing boxers living in the provinces to have free services in their localities.
“This is a development that the boxing industry has been asking for and we’re so thankful for this historic announcement that will change the landscape of Philippine professional boxing,” said Mitra.