By Nick Giongco
Nine months ago in a Yokohama hospital, Filipino boxer Renerio Arizala was on the brink of death after suffering head injuries in the ring.
With Japanese medical experts performing the operation, Arizala survived the ordeal and spent the next few weeks regaining his strength.
Many thought he would end up either a vegetable or somebody who would require special needs to go about his daily life.
But Arizala, 25, is up and about.
In fact, Arizala reports for work at the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman’s Office as a member of its ratings committee.
Owing to his valuable experience, GAB chairman Baham Mitra appointed him to a special role.
“He reviews and talks to fighters and trainers who wish to fight abroad. Its a good added safety measure for GAB I think as he can share his experiences with them and not to just scare them off,” said Mitra.
Arizala lost on a sixth-round TKO in his featherweight clash with the fast-rising Tameda and doctors revealed that he had right acute subdural hematoma that required immediate surgery.
Nowadays, Arizala does what normal people do, something that makes Mitra thankful.
The leadership of Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) was on hand to award the ¥3,000,000 (P1.4-million) check to Arizala, accompanied by her mother, was teary-eyed during the simple turnover rites.
“Akala ko wala ng magandang mangyayari sa buhay ko dahil sa aksidente ko sa Japan. Alam ko mahihirapan na ako makahanap ng trabaho dahil sa aksidente kaya nagpapasalamat ako sa Panginoon, sa pamilya ko, at sa mga taong tumulong sa akin mula ng maaksidente ako hanggang sa kasalukuyan,” said Arizala, who closed out his pro career with a 13-9-3 with five KOs.
The JBC was represented by its chief and Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation Secretary General Tsuyoshi Yasukochi and Japan Professional Boxing Association head Ryuko Kazuhiro.
“Japan is not only our friend but also our partner in promoting the welfare of our professional boxers. Last year, GAB and JBC inked an agreement allowing [Pinoy] professional boxers to fight in Japan provided that they will obtain a travel authority from GAB. While, Japanese pro boxers are also allowed to fight in the Philippines provided that they will obtain an affirmation from the JBC,” said Mitra.