THE Games and Amusements Board (GAB) is now looking into reports that Filipino boxer Denver Cuello was already nursing an injury even before climbing the ring on Friday night to challenge World Boxing Council (WBC) minimumweight champion Xiong Zhao Zhong of China at the World Trade Centre in Dubai.
GAB commissioner Atty. Aquil Tamano told Spin.ph the government agency is now consolidating information regarding the incident prior to an investigation.
Cuello lost to Zhong by majority decision after fighting with just one good hand owing to a shoulder injury that hampered his movement. The Filipino though scored the fight’s lone knockdown after decking the champion with a solid straight left in the opening round.
“Hindi ko pa nakikita `yung video, pero nabalitaan ko nga na hindi siya prepared (for the fight) tapos nilaban pa rin,” said Tamano.
“Bukas (Tuesday) mag-uusap ang board regarding that. Usually dapat dumadaan sa medical (examination) 'yan bago ilaban at lumabas ng bansa,” added the youthful GAB official.
Tamano also bared plans to summon Aljoe Jaro, Cuello’s manager, to dig deeper into the issue.
“We’ll discuss it with the board then we’ll have an inquiry. Kailangang magkaroon ng investigation para hindi na maulit,” said Tamano.
Fight reports said Cuello sustained the injury during the course of the fight, but videos posted on Youtube clearly showed the Filipino challenger was already refraining from throwing a punch with his right hand from the opening bell.
Even during the traditional tapping of gloves just before the 12-round bout, the 25-year-old Cuello used his left hand to acknowledge the champion although the Filipino is a southpaw.
Meanwhile, Spin.ph was told by Cuello it was his decision - and not his manager - to go on with the fight.
“Last month, tinanong ako ni Kuya Aljoe kung itutuloy ko ba `yung laban. Sabi ko ‘Oo, baka ito na ang huling pagkakataon ko.' Gusto ko nang lumaban ng championship eh,” said the Cabatuan, Iloilo puncher.
Cuello is expected to undergo surgery on his right rotator cuff at the Makati Medical Center.
To make matters worse, organizers of the fight failed to hand Cuello’s fight purse.
Reports from the oil-rich country had it that Friday night’s fight was nearly cancelled after organizers experienced financial trouble.