CEBU CITY, Philippines – Panamanian boxing judge Carlos Costa is still freely attending prestigious boxing conventions abroad despite earlier complaints from two local boxing officials groups in the Philippines.
Costa, 58, is Cebu City-based and has been the subject of complaints from the Professional Boxing Officials of Central Visayas (PBOCV) and the Association of Philippine Professional Boxing Ring Officials (APPBRO- Luzon Chapter).
Reports reaching PBOCV members revealed that Costa is in Fuzhou, China attending the 98th World Boxing Association (WBA) convention which runs from Nov. 7 to 11 after earlier attending the 57th World Boxing Council (WBC) convention in Cancun, Mexico last October.
Although the attendance of Costa to boxing conventions is not part of their complaint, PBOCV President Arnie Najera is urging Games and Amusement Board (GAB) Chairman Abraham Kahlil Mitra to resolve their complaint against Costa, also the subject of a separate plaint from a GAB insider.
“I hope GAB will be able to decide soon on the issues lodged against him. We want him stripped of his license as a local ring official. I believe the Philippines is the only country that had given him such license,” a portion of Najera’s statement sent to iNews.Ph said.
Mitra earlier said that GAB is leaning towards “blacklisting” Costa as a ring official but has not yet finally decided as the board officials will still meet. Mitra said GAB gave Costa a “fair chance” of defending himself on the complaints but Costa according to Mitra did not bother to answer their communications.
“He has not replied to any of our communications. Maybe blacklisted very soon after (our) board meeting,” Mitra said in a phone text message to Inews.Ph. Even if Costa’s membership to international boxing organizations is not among their issues but Najera pointed out that as per their experiences, a delegate to international boxing conventions is required to have endorsements from the commissions where they belong.
Najera himself is WBC, International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Federation (WBF) accredited international boxing judge, among others. “Although his membership in international boxing organizations is another matter, and we are not privy to each organization criteria required for its members.
But when we applied to these orgs some of them asked for a home/local commission’s endorsement,” Najera said. Najera revealed that there is a boxing organization that welcomes any participant but it has no effect on an individual’s standing on the particular commission that he came as conventions are also formed of just “rubbing elbows” with certain boxing people.
“As to his attendance at the WBA and WBC conventions, he can always attend them. Nobody is restricted to attend these conventions. Attendance to them actually does not give legitimacy or illegitimacy to one’s claim of being a ring official.
Aside from the pocket training, these conventions afford an attendee time to mingle with fellow officials and rub elbows with the big guns of that boxing org – for social media photo ops and bragging rights,” Najera pointed out in September this year, PBOCV and APPBRO-Luzon chapter filed separate complaints against Costa whom they alleged to have lacking legal papers to qualify as a boxing judge.
Among the allegations is Costa’s failure to submit a valid working permit as an alien from the Bureau of Immigration and the “conflict of interest” which Costa showed when the Panamian acted as a “cornerman” to a Mexican fighter, Cesar Ramirez who fought against a Filipino boxer, Johnriel Casimero last August 24 for the WBO interim bantamweight championship.
Both PBOCV and APPBRO added that Costa is also engaged in lobbying for assignments by getting the nod of promoters who wanted publicity and exposures of their promotions as Costa also doubles as boxing writer for several boxing news sites.
A concrete example that both PBOCV and APPBRO mentioned was the case of Engr. Greg Ortega, a veteran boxing judge since 2009 who was replaced by Costa for the IBF minimum championship where Pedro Taduran beat Samuel Salva in Taguig last September 7. Oliver Evangelista, a Sports and Games Regulation Officer (SGRO) of GAB also reported an incident where Costa allegedly pestered him to have other bout assignments despite being given the Ken Jordan versus Macrea Gandionco Asian Boxing Federation (ABF) bantamweight championship in August.
Evangelista politely told Costa that there is an officiating rotation that is being followed but Costa allegedly insisted that there is none of it. Evangelista detailed what he knew too, recommending to the GAB that Costa be “rested” as boxing judge.
“With this behavior of Mr. Costa, I believe he must rest from being a boxing judge,” Evangelista wrote the GAB board through the GAB legal division dated September 2, 2019. PBOCV and APPBRO both agreed that Costa is using as “leverage” his being a boxing writer as his bout assignments already reached 164 despite being relatively new to the job as he was just given his license in April 2018.
A concrete example on how he is being favored is the situation involving boxing judge Neil Papas, the municipal administrator of San Fernando, Southern Cebu who in the past worked in Malacanang. Papas also started as boxing judge like Costa in April last year but merely got 51 bout assignments.
The other known PBOCV officials apart from Najera are boxing referee Tony Pesons and Niq Banal, international boxing judges Edward Ligas and Edgar Olalo and boxing physicians Jose Unabia and Rene Bonsubre and Cebu’s Michael Buffer, ring announcer Sandi Grumo.
APPBRO who is presently led by Elmo Coloma has some of the big names of boxing officials in the country; international boxing refs Atty. Danrex Tapdasan and Ferdie Estrella and international boxing judge Atty. Aquil Tamano, who himself has been a former GAB Commissioner./AAJ