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PSC links up with South Africa, hosts boxing exhibition at RMSC

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Photo: National athletes and officials from the boxing association, together with PSC Commissioner Matthew “Fritz” Gaston, Executive Director Atty. Guillermo Iroy Jr., South African Embassy to the Philippines Ambassador Bartinah Ntombizodwa Radebe-Netshitenzhe, and ABAP SecGen Marcus Manalo (center) pose for posterity after the Nelson Mandela Boxing Exhibition on Thursday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC).

Marking 30 years of the country’s diplomatic relations with South Africa, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) opened its doors to Ambassador Bartinah Ntombizodwa Radebe-Netshitenzhe and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Deputy Assistant Secretary Marlowe Miranda by hosting boxing exhibition matches on Thursday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum inside the historic Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) in Malate, Manila.

In his welcome speech, PSC Commissioner Matthew “Fritz” Gaston welcomed the guests and bared that, “this gathering is not only to strengthen the growing partnership between the Philippines and South Africa, but to also honor the legacy of former President and renowned activist Nelson Mandela, who loved sports and its great impact on society.”

“Sports diplomacy is a very good way to improve relations between countries. We wish for more sports exchanges and skills development initiatives between our two countries to provide opportunities for our youth to get into sports,” added Gaston.

The lady ambassador, for her part, thanked the sports agency and the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines, Inc. (ABAP) for hosting the boxing matches to honor Mandela, an amateur boxer in his early years.

“We are hoping to complete a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the PSC, with the goal of using sports as a unifying tool to spread tolerance and love amongst others. Both South Africa and the Philippines have suffered centuries of oppression, but this did not, however, take away the Filipino’s inherent fighting spirit,” added Netshitenzhe.

Ten boxers from the national training pool, put together by ABAP Secretary General Marcus Manalo, showcased their boxing skills in five boxing matches in the flyweight, featherweight, and bantamweight classes.

South African Embassy Counsellor Ms. Chantelle Naidoo, Tourism and Marketing Officer Ms. Ellen Vega, PSC Acting Executive Director Atty. Guillermo Iroy Jr. and Deputy Executive Director Ms. Anna Christine Abellana were also present during the exhibition.

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