CCSC readies for Donaire-Bedak
You know it ain’t just an ordinary undertaking when it involves a veteran organizer like Ricky Ballesteros.
Ballesteros and various sectors from Cebu City are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the upcoming world title fight between Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr. and Hungarian boxer Zsolt Bedak will be a resounding success.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show that Cebu is capable of hosting a world-class event,” Ballesteros said.
The mega fight, co-promoted by ALA Promotions International and Top Rank, will be held on April 23 at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC) — home to many national and international events.
“We just had a meeting today (yesterday) to discuss our preparations. Representatives from the police, disaster management office, Mayor’s Office and traffic agency were there. By April 12, I think we can already finalize everything,” said Ballesteros, manager of CCSC.
The layout of the venue for the boxing spectacle has already been finalized, according to Ballesteros.
“The set-up will be basically the same with what we had during the (Z) Gorres-(Fernando) Montiel fight in 2007,” Ballesteros pointed out.
The layout will have the boxing ring installed at the 9,000-square meter football field. VIP seats will be on the football field, which will be covered with carpets to protect spectators from dusts.
To prevent damage, the rubberized track oval will be covered with rubber and plywood sheets.
Ballesteros said the football field can accommodate 9,000 spectators, while the grandstand can hold up to 15,000 people.
“But ALA only printed 8,000 tickets for the grandstand. From the very beginning, ALA told us to make sure that spectators are seated comfortably,” Ballesteros said.
The upcoming fight was supposed to be held at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. But plans changed and Ballesteros was more than happy that CCSC was chosen as the new venue.
“I heard that the fight will be held at Araneta but I was really hoping that it will be brought here because when it comes to hosting a big event, Cebu City can really compete,” said Ballesteros, who is also the executive director of the Sinulog Foundation Inc. and lead organizer of the highly successful Cebu leg of the National Milo Marathon.
Apart from the security aspect, organizers are also working on a traffic scheme during the event.
“A portion of the Osmea Boulevard will be closed to traffic so it will be used as a parking space since our parking area here in CCSC has limited space. We are still finalizing our traffic plans and the public will be properly notified to avoid inconvenience,” he said.
At stake in the mammoth card is Donaire’s World Boxing Organization (WBO) super bantamweight title. The event will also put on the line Cebu’s reputation as mecca of Philippine boxing.
“With the help of the Cebuanos, I know we can pull this off. It is our chance to show what Cebu has to offer when it comes to sports tourism,” Ballesteros said.