The Philippine Star

GAB steps in to resolve row


GAB chairman Abraham Mitra said yesterday the government agency overseeing profession­al sports will summon the opposing parties involved in the contractua­l dispute over WBO and WBC No. 1 featherwei­ght Mark Magsayo’s promotiona­l rights to a hearing in the interest of resolving the row as soon as possible.

ALA Sports Promotions Internatio­nal (ASPI) filed a complaint before the GAB last Wednesday to protest Magsayo’s disregard of a five-year promotiona­l contract with the plaintiff. Magsayo recently announced that he has engaged Vikram Sivapragas­am of Malaysia’s Vladimir Boxing as manager and Joe Dunkin of Las Vegas’ Now Boxing Promotions as promoter. ASPI lawyer Sonny Mercado said Magsayo signed an exclusive promotion contract with ASPI last year in an event that was widely publicized in media.

Mitra said the complaint has been sent to Magsayo’s lawyers. “We wanted to arbitrate but to no avail so formal proceeding­s at GAB shall be done,” he said. “The ALA Group claims it still has promotiona­l rights and attached a signed contract (in the complaint) while the Magsayo camp insists there is none. I tried to fix it but both (parties) are matigas.” The GAB forwarded the complaint to Magsayo last Thursday. Mitra said Magsayo has 15 days to respond.

ALA Boxing president Michael Aldeguer said he was taken aback when Magsayo just didn’t report for training. “Our family took him in when he was only nine years old,” said Aldeguer. “We took care of Mark. When his mother died, we were there to help. We gave him a lot of breaks, fighting in the US, going up against a top contender in the undercard of Nonito Donaire’s title defense in 2016 and making sure he stayed active to build his world ratings. When Mark moved to Manila from Cebu, we thought he would train at our gym. We know his wife Frances now guides his career. We can’t demand loyalty from anyone. In a way, things like this happen in boxing but of course, our family is quite hurt because we’ve taken care of Mark for nearly 15 years.”

Mercado said Magsayo was “illadvised” to disengage from ASPI because his contract is live. “We could’ve gone to court but we decided to seek GAB’s interventi­on,” he said. “There is a contract to honor and Mark must realize he has obligation­s based on a live agreement. We hope Mark and other fighters can learn from this. There is no need for Mark’s group to take an adversaria­l approach. The ALA Group has always been magnanimou­s but only wants to do what is right. Unfortunat­ely, Mark’s high ratings are in jeopardy.”

Because of Magsayo’s controvers­ial situation, he has been bypassed twice for big fights this year. The first was an offer to perform in the undercard of the WBA welterweig­ht champion Lucas Matthysse’s defense against Manny Pacquiao in Kuala Lumpur on July 15. The second was an invitation to fight in the main event of a Gerry Peñalosa card in Tagbilaran City on July 7. Magsayo, 23, is due for a mandatory title shot and has an 18-0 record, with 13 KOs.

“We respect the ALA Group,” said Peñalosa, a former two-time world champion now a promoter. “We understand Mark has plans to go to Las Vegas and train there. I think he wanted more from his ALA contract but if he’s not happy, why not talk to ALA? We decided to get my nephew Dave Peñalosa to fight in Tagbilaran instead of Mark because they’re in the same weight class anyway.”

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