MANILA, Philippines -- For the first time in the Philippines, Cebu-based Omega Sports Promotions will hold a fight card inside a "bubble" at the International Pharmaceuticals Inc. compound in Mandaue City on October 7.
"We are honored and privileged to be holding this historic boxing card in Cebu. It is a challenge but we are looking forward to it," said Omega Sports Promotions chief Jerome Calatrava Tuesday during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.
Sanctioned by the Games and Amusements Board led by chairman Baham Mitra, the four-match card is the first to be held nationwide since government authorities locked down virtually the entire country in mid-March to stem the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in the suspension of all sports events
Omega's Ronnie Vecilles and Baguio's Junel Lacar collide in a light-flyweight (108-pound) clash in 10 rounds, while stablemate Christian Araneta takes on Richard Rosales of Bohol also in a 10-round light-flyweight match.
Omega's Penitente Apolinar tackles Cagayan de Oro's Jetro Pabustan in a featherweight (126-pound) bout in the third 10-rounder, while stable partner Carlo Bacaro tangles with fellow Cebuano Jeffrey Stella in a light-welterweight (140-pound) encounter set for six rounds.
Vecilles is the reigning World Boxing Association South light-flyweight champion and is ranked No. 10 in the World Boxing Council (WBC) ratings, while Araneta was an ex-WBC Asia silver champion in the light-flyweight division, according to Calatrava.
"All the boxers are excited and itching to fight. The excitement cannot be described, including the opponents of our boxers," said Calatrava, whose promotional outfit led by Paul Jake Castillo has been around since the nineties.
Among the products of the Omega stable, he said are World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight John Riel Casimiro, who successfully defended his crown in the US last weekend, and world title contender Jhack Tepora.
"We would like to also thank GAB chairman Mitra’s backing in staging this event," said Calatrava, who stressed that they are strictly complying with the protocols laid down by GAB.
All of the boxers and personnel involved in the card have undergone rapid tests, and are now staying at the IPI compound in Mandaue City. They will undergo swab tests two days before the boxing program.
"We will have about 50 people involved, including the boxers, crew, and the one referee we hired for the event that will be held in closed doors with GAB officials watching," said Calatrava. "We will then play the video of the event on our Facebook page Omega Boxing Gym on a delayed basis."