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    Boxing chief hits out over favoritism claim

    Oct 9, 2012

    THE Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) has denied accusations of favoritism in choosing members of the national training pool and expressed willingness to heed a call by Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia to hold open tryouts.

    In a letter addressed to PSC chairman Ricardo Garcia, ABAP president Ricky Vargas expressed utmost concern over statements attributed to Garcia which he believed put him and the boxing body in a bad light.

    “This is a serious accusation that casts aspersions on my character and competence,” said Vargas.

    Garcia was quoted in reports that there should be tryouts or qualifying tournaments among boxing clubs in the country, since there are several good boxers who were being left out of the selection process in the national team due to the presence of favoritism within ABAP.

    Garcia had denied making the statements.

    In response, Vargas stressed there have been over a dozen regional and national tournaments all over the country since he took over as president in 2009.

    London Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga was discovered in these tournaments organized by ABAP, he stressed.

    "This is how we discovered Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga, World Junior champion Eumir Marcial and the five gold medalist in the recent Taipei City Cup, all of whom were first-timers in international competition,” Vargas said in the letter.

    “There are several others in the pool who we will field in various other foreign competitions, including the World Youth Championships this November. Again, we will be using PLDT funds for these international exposures. The PSC does not spend a single centavo for our foreign trips aside from the Olympics, Asian Games and SEA Games."

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    On Garcia's suggestion that the ABAP launch a talent search, Vargas said: "I feel this would be a duplication of the functions of our NSA. But if you feel you need to do this, then so be it."

    Vargas also reacted to claims of favoritism within the boxing organization made by now pros AJ `Bazooka’ Banal and Milan Melindo.

    Vargas pointed out that the incidents cited by the two boxers came before he took over at ABAP in 2009.

    As proof that ABAP doesn’t favor any particular region under his term, Vargas said members of the national pool including Barriga, Marcial, women’s titlist Josie Gabuco, Charly Suarez, and Rey Saludar all came from different parts of the country.

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