About 150 Filipino boxers suspected of submitting falsified brain scans
MANILA, Philippines – About 150 Filipino boxers are believed to have submitted falsified brain scan results during their application processes, the government agency Games and Amusements Board said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
GAB chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra said that an initial list of 120 boxers with suspicious records was submitted by GAB medical officer Dr. Radentor Viernes, with an additional 21 in the city of Davao and another seven to nine from a hospital in Metro Manila being reviewed.
The names on the list were released but none are recognizable, as they are primarily bottom-tier boxers.
The records in question first came to light in July, when several boxers were found to have submitted CT scans with the same control numbers from the same clinic in the province of Batangas. All those on the initial list were required to submit scans deemed legitimate by the GAB to be allowed to fight again.
The additional suspicious scans have come from different sources, suggesting a more widespread problem among the 1,054 licensed pro boxers in the country.
“So far there have been no licenses denied for those who complied because they are licensed already. We just did not allow them to fight again unless they submitted an authentic CT scan,” said Mitra, who added that approximately half of the boxers named have already handed in legitimate scans.
One of the biggest concerns for small-time boxers in the Philippines are prohibitive licensing costs, which cut into their already measly earnings. A CT scan, an annual requirement for licensing, costs about $50 in Metro Manila and $87-$126 in the provinces.
Boxers could soon see relief from those expenditures after the GAB and the Department of Health (DOH) agreed Tuesday to partner on providing free exams to pro boxers as part of their licensing process, including CT and MRI scans, Hepatitis B testing, drug testing for marijuana and methamphetamine, a complete blood test and more, while also introducing HIV and Hepatitis C screening for boxers competing in world title fights.
Mitra says boxers will have their pre-fight requirements covered after GAB and DOH meet next week to establish internal rules and regulations. Additional post-fight coverage for injuries sustained in fights is estimated to cost 4 million Philippine pesos (about $77,000 USD) and will be part of the GAB’s budget proposal for next year, which would be subject to approval by the House of Representatives and Senate.