OPBF prexy: Flyweight champ Raquinel stripped of belt due to inactivity
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Frank Hadley, the president of the Oriental Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF), answered the accusations of unfairly stripping Jayr Raquinel of his OPBF flyweight title.
In a statement from OPBF that was sent to CDN Digital, Hadley said that they decided to declare the OPBF flyweight title vacant due to Raquinel’s inactivity.
Raquinel is one of the prized boxers of boxing promoter and manager Brico Santig. They aired their sentiments on social media about the OPBF’s unfair decision of stripping his boxer with the title.
Another boxing promoter Dante Almario also aired his sentiments on social media where he stated that another Filipino boxer, Edward Heno, was stripped with his OPBF light flyweight title due to inactivity.
They want to reinstate their boxers as OPBF champions for the reason that they cannot promote a fight or defend the respective titles mainly due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
But the OPBF explained that they had certain rules to follow before they would decide to strip any champion of their title under their federation.
“Whilst many believe that Mr. Raquinel has been unfairly treated, it is simply the action of following our rules. OPBF RULE 26 clearly states: In no case shall the period of defence extend beyond one year. Failure to do so would be sufficient grounds for the Federation to withdraw recognition of his title” the statement said.
Last OPBF bouts in 2019
Both Raquinel and Heno’s last bouts happened in 2019. Raquinel, who holds a record of 12 wins, one defeat, one draw with nine knockouts last defended the OPBF flyweight title on August 23, 2019 against Japanese Takuya Kogawa.
He won the bout via technical knockout. After that Raquinel fought for a non-title bout against Jack Amisa in Dubai UAE in November 2019.
Heno (14-1-5, 5 KOs), a former world title challenger, last defended his OPBF itle in February 11, 2019 against Japanese Koji Itagaki in Japan. Heno won via unanimous decision.
OPBF also explained that Raquinel’s last title defense was almost two years ago which is way beyond their limit.
They said that Raquinel failed to defend his title even before the COVID-19 happened. They could have given Raquinel ‘leeway’ if he was able to defend the title in 2020.
“The OPBF would have been within its rights to declare the title vacant much sooner than it did, but instead, out of respect for the champion, we wrote to the manager of Mr. Raquinel regarding the possible action on the title,” the statement read.
“Mr. Santig, whom I do not know personally, returned correspondence explaining his difficulties in getting fights for the Champion and declaring that he was quarantined in Dubai for at least the next two months and perhaps more, which would have extended the Champion’s inactivity beyond 2 years,” the statement added.
Thus, the OPBF decided to strip Raquinel and Heno of their titles to provide equal chance to active boxers in their respective divisions a shot for the title.
Despite the criticisms, Hadley and the OPBF are very willing to reinstate the two boxers as “rated” contenders on their respective divisions if they become active again.
Hadley also said that he and Santig had been communicating and were already working out together to solve the issue.
“In the last two days, Mr. Santig and I have exchanged private communication and we both agree that there has been a lot of misunderstanding regarding this criticism. We have worked through the misunderstandings, said Hadley in a statement.
“As it turns out, Mr. Santig had no problem with the decision to strip the champion of the title due to his current inactivity and his existing problems in being quarantined in Dubai,” read Hadley’s statement.
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