By Ronnie Nathanielsz
The World Boxing Organization which has made strong inroads into Asia in recent years including gaining official recognition by the Japan Boxing Commission, will hold its 2015 Convention in the Philippines for the very first time.
The decision was announced by WBO president Francisco "Paco" Valcarcel on the final day of its 26th Convention in Budapest, Hungary.
A delegation from the Games and Amusements Board led by chairman Ramon Guanzon and Commissioners Fritz Gaston and Aquil Tamano.
Tamano made an impressive pitch for the Philippines to host the WBO Convention and his presentation about the value of holding the convention in Manila was well received by the delegates to the convention headed by WBO president Valcarcel.
Valcarcel who has always supported the Philippines and former champions Manny Pacquiao and Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire as well as current minimumweight champion Merlito "Tiger" Sabillo and light flyweight champion Donnie Nietes repeated what he had told the Manila Standard in past interviews, that he had grandchildren who were part Filipino.
It was Valcarcel himself who proposed that the request of the Philippines be approved and it received a resounding approval.
WBO Asia Pacific vice president Leon Panoncillo who had been instrumental in the growth of the organization in the Philippines as well as in the rest of the Asia-Pacific region was asked to coordinate the staging of the 2015 convention with the GAB and the WBO organizing committee.
Two major WBO title fights were held in Macau earlier this year when Mexico's Juan Franciscon Estrada won the title from Brian Viloria and then successfully retained it despite a gallant effort by previously undefeated Milan Melindo.
Another huge event will unfold in Macau on November 24 when "Fighter of the Decade" Manny Pacquiao will battle Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios for the WBO International title.
After a meeting with the GAB officials and other Philippine delegates including journalists led by Don Secuya of philboxing.com and boxing judge Salven Lagumbay it was decided to hold the convention at the Shangri-la Hotel in Cebu.