This letter is in response to allegations that Bohol Boxing Stable, as owned and managed by me, has treated Filipino boxers under my care inhumanely and unfairly. The boxers in my care are like family to me, my wife and children. They eat the food we eat, go to church with us on Sundays, sleep in their individual (cushioned) bed bunks and come to social gatherings with my family and friends.
But like many young Filipinos from poorer families, the boxers have a habit of asking things such as favours from people they meet. Some ask for jobs or money, despite knowing their ‘Sports Visas’ do not allow them to work outside boxing. This is often interpreted by many of our kababayans to mean the boxers are in dire straights and in grave need of life’s essentials and some luxuries.
The fact is that the boxers that I bring to Australia are already fortunate to have been chosen and helped financially to come and earn money in Australian dollars plying their trade.
A few of them have been able to purchase decent homes in the Philippines after only one or two years here. One has bought a sari-sari store back home, and another has a small money-lending business. All of them have been able to send money to their loved ones at home on a more or less regular basis. Had they stayed in the Philippines, most of these boxers would have simply gone on to retire without a penny.
My stable has been careful to match the boxers with suitable opponents, and thank God none of them have been seriously hurt. Two of them, Ranee Ganoy and Roberto Oyan, have done us Filipinos proud by winning boxing championships.
What has been unfortunate over many years is that rival boxing trainers and promoters lure these boxers with offers of bigger purses and better conditions. But the fact that many of them opt to return after learning they had been duped means my stable has been doing things right by them.
The subject of the late boxer Roberto Ruiz has been brought up. No one has bothered to find out that Roberto had begged to return to my stable after a life spent labouring illegally and doing drugs. I had to refuse him because Roberto had become an illegal immigrant. That he took his own life must be a heavy burden on the consciences of the people who lured Roberto from my stable with glowing promises, only to let him down later.
My humble advice to our kababayans in Australia is to regard our transient boxers with dignity instead of denigrating them. And if our kababayans wish to help them, I suggest that they please come and pay to watch them do what they came to Australia to do: Fight and earn a living for their families and their futures.
(signed) Dido Bohol
104 Cockatill Circuit, Green Valley NSW