By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
News of the WBO world title fight between Filipino Giemel Magramo (24-1,20KO’s) and Junto Nakatani (20-0,15KO’s) of Japan came as ray of hope in an otherwise gloomy sports landscape in the Philippines. This fight is for the flyweight crown vacated by Japan’s Kosei Tanaka last February and was initially set for April 4 in Tokyo.
Magramo told this writer in a short chat last March that he was told he could be fighting on June 6 and he was continuing to train at the Elorde Gym. But, the dire situation worldwide caused by the coronavirus pandemic continues. Now,it seems the fight will take place in Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall on July 4.
Arrangements for the fight, as well as the safety protocols are among the concerns of Magramo’s manager Johnny Elorde, Japanese promoter Akihiko Honda, Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Baham Mitra ,WBO Asia Pacific chairman Leon Panoncillo,and Tsuyoshi Yasukochi of the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC).
Travelling to Japan will be a huge problem at this time but boxing stakeholders and fans hope things will get better come July.
WBO Vice President Panoncillo made this writer aware last Tuesday of the safety guidelines of the World Boxing Organization for sanction approval which include:
1.Only critical personnel for the staging of the event are allowed inside.
2.If fans are allowed, there should be one section row empty in between and one vacant seat in between fans in the occupied row.
3.Temperature checks, hand santizer sections, masks and avoidance of crowding.
4.Covid-19 testing for boxers, cornermen, and officials.
The entire set of guidelines is more detailed but it can be done.
Another WBO champion, John Riel Casimero (29-4,20KO’s)from the Philippines, (29-4,20KO’s) has also been waiting for the final date for the bantamweight unification bout against WBA/IBF champ Naoya Inoue (19-0,16KO’s) of Japan.
In a conversation with this writer three weeks ago, Casimero strongly stated that he does not want substitute Joshua Greer (22-1-1,12KO’s) of the United States, who is the top contender for his crown.
Casimero told this writer today that he trusts MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions chief Sean Gibbons will deliver the Inoue fight in July. Casimero is still in the United States continuing to wait and train.
Another Filipino world champ, Jerwin Ancajas,who holds the IBF junior bantamweight title, is also waiting for the month of July.
Ancajas (32-1-2,22KO’s) was supposed to defend his IBF world junior bantamweight title last April against Mexican Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (21-1,15KO’s) in the U.S.
Ancajas’ manager Joven Jimenez told this writer today that Ancajas is staying in shape and could be defending his belt in July. Ancajas is in the Philippines and will need to travel to the U.S. before the fight can be set.
Here in the Philippines, local fighters are still waiting for plans to restart the boxing industry. These boxers are the sports equivalent of minimum wage earners. They have received government aid but it is still not enough if contact sports is not resumed soon.
Of course, the people in charge will have to weigh their decision to reopen. There is no price tag on a human life. But, the powers that be in the Philippines can learn from what the UFC and German football are doing; two major sports franchises that have resumed activities under strict testing and staging events behind closed doors.
As I have stated in a previous article, only a cure and a vaccine for Covid-19 will make things return to the way it used to be.
PHOTO- left to right – Giemel Magramo, John Riel Casimero, Jerwin Ancajas
Contribution from freelance writer Jackie
Tooth loss or dental damage is a common problem faced by athletes, especially in combat sports such as Muay Thai, kickboxing, taekwondo, and boxing. In a study of male athletes who engage in these sports, it was found that 95 percent of athletes had some form of dental damage, and tooth fractures were the most common dental injuries. Most of the iconic and professional Asian boxers know that protecting their teeth is a must before stepping into the ring, but those who box as a way to keep fit should also take active measures to keep their teeth in good condition. Here is the boxer’s guide to mouthguards and dental health.
Get fitted for a mouthpiece
Long before boxers wore mouthguards, fighters during the late 1800s would protect their teeth with a quartered orange, cotton wool, or a crude device made from a rubber-like substance. Since then, mouthguards have gone a long way, and professional boxers now wear custom-fitted mouthpieces to protect their teeth and gums from damage and to guard against jaw fractures. Buying a ready-made mouthpiece isn’t recommended as every mouth is unique, so you’ll need to go to a dentist or orthodontist to get custom fitted. Those who wear braces should also get fitted to accommodate their dental appliances to ensure that their teeth, braces, and gums are adequately protected.
Beware of the boil and bite mouthguard
Some professional boxers have as much as three or more specially made mouthpieces on hand during fights. However, most amateurs often choose to cut corners as they don’t have enough funds to buy a custom-fitted piece, so they opt for a generic rubber mouthpiece that’s readily available in sporting goods stores. Athletes who are looking to save money would boil these mouthguards to soften them, then put them in their mouths so the piece would reform and fit over their teeth and gums. While using boil and bite mouthguards may be fine during practice, using these in an actual fight isn’t recommended at all as it’s not enough to protect one's mouth against damage. Even having just one customized mouthpiece will make a difference while you’re in the ring as having one means that your mouth is well-protected, enabling you to save money on dental work should you get hit on the jaw or mouth during a fight.
Replace mouthguards after a year
A customized mouthpiece should last through a year of regular use in the ring and during sparring sessions. Make sure to visit your orthodontist to get a new one every year to ensure that you’re well-protected while boxing. You should also inspect your mouthguard regularly for any signs of wear and tear so you’ll know if it needs to be replaced right away.
Sanitize your mouthguard after every use
Cleaning your mouthguard is a must for your health and your protective gear’s longevity. After a sparring session or a fight, rinse it off with some clean water, then deep clean it once you get home. To thoroughly clean your mouthpiece, fill a small bowl with distilled vinegar, then soak your mouthguard in it for 40 minutes. After that, rinse it well using cool water, then soak the mouthguard in a small bowl filled with hydrogen peroxide for another 40 minutes. Rinse the mouthpiece again with water, then allow it to dry before storing. Keep your mouthguard in a clean container with air vents, and don’t forget to clean the container regularly and make sure that it’s dry before placing your mouthpiece inside it.
Eat a tooth-friendly diet
Some foods can be beneficial for a boxer’s dental health, so make sure to consume calcium-rich milk, yogurt, and cheese to strengthen your teeth. You may also want to increase your consumption of dark green leafy vegetables, oranges, and green tea as these can help to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Avoid overly sweet foods and processed foods, as well as sugary drinks to keep your teeth in tiptop shape.
Keeping your mouth well-protected is a must during fights and sparring sessions. Follow these tips to keep your teeth, gums, and jaw healthy and well-protected. Should dental issues occur, consult your dentist for proper treatment.
Contribution from freelance writer Jackie
Boxing has a long documented history dating back to Egypt in 3,000 BC. It was then introduced to the Greeks and became part of the Olympic Games in 7BC. It wasn’t until the 1800s however that amateur boxing began to emerge as a sport, first in the United Kingdom and then America. Boxing has a unique link with tattoos and the majority of professional boxers have tattoos — many of them extremely prominent. So why are tattoos and boxing intrinsically linked?
It’s all about attitude
Boxing isn’t always just about the fight — there is often a great amount of pre-fight banter. For instance, Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor have had some particularly exciting conflicts out of the ring. Sometimes these antics are there to entertain the crowds, but they also have a higher purpose: to intimidate. They are a way to psychologically attack the opponent by attempting to show that you are more aggressive, more assertive and stronger. Having tattoos is another way that people show their attitude and try to intimidate - the bigger the better. If you can endure the pain of getting inked, then a bit of boxing ain’t no thing.
The 'hard' image
It may come as no surprise, but there is a social element to having tattoos. In one study, participants were shown photographs of men and women, some with the tattoos digitally removed. The images of people with tattoos were considered to be more negative and even deviant. The women with tattoos were perceived to be independent and strong. This goes to show that there is a certain stigma that is attached to tattoos. Although attitudes to having tattoos have relaxed somewhat, particularly in the workplace, the general consensus is still that people with tattoos are tough. For boxers, having tattoos certainly perpetuates this image and could even help to give them a psychological advantage over their components.
A work of art
The average competitive boxer spends 25 hours a week training in the ring and working out in the gym. They are extremely dedicated to improving and maintaining their fitness levels. Building muscle and creating definition is not just a necessity for boxers, it is an art form. Boxers take extreme pride in the way that their bodies look and perform — and so they should. Getting a tattoo is also part of this self-expression. It is a way of using the body as a canvas to display what you are passionate about and who you are. This is why so many competitive boxers have tattoos that are symbolic; they represent the image of self.
Famous boxers with tattoos
Mike Tyson has a memorable tribal tattoo adorning his face, but it is the portraits on his body that are actually worth noting — Chairman Mao, Arthur Ashe and Che Guevara. It is clear that Tyson considers himself somewhat of a rebel if he is to be judged by the artwork on his body. Diego Corrales’ tattoos were a little rough around the edges, but most memorable was the black panther on the right side of his chest. It said a lot about Chico’s personality and certainly his style in the ring. You can’t talk about boxers and tattoos without mentioning Ricky Hatton’s artwork. The giant “Hitman - Pride in Battle” across his back has the attitude and ego of a London gangster and certainly shows how Hatton feels about his boxing career.
The history of boxing and tattoos are very much intertwined. For a boxer, their tattoos are a unique form of self-expression and send a message to anyone that steps into the ring with them.
These articles are submitted by guest writers and sites. They aren't submitted by the usual folk behind Asian Boxing and don't fall in line with our editorial stance, giving a fresh view on various boxing issues from the Asian boxing scene.