(Michael Aldeguer with California State Athletic Commission Executive Officer Andy Foster)
No promotional boxing outfit from Asia had ever secured a U.S. license before. Many have tried but all have failed. Until now.
It took Michael P. Aldeguer years and years of shuttling back and forth California and Cebu; thousands of dollars of phone bills and innumerable hours on the phone; hundreds of emails exchanged until finally.. Yes.
“It was difficult and painstaking,” admitted Michael, a friend whom I’ve known since high school when we competed in basketball. “At first, we felt it couldn’t be done as no one in Asia had done it before but we had focus and perseverance in finding ways to make it happen.”
The Aldeguers have always been persevering and successful, be it in business or in sport. In boxing, having conquered Cebu and Manila and, just recently, Dubai, it was clear that the next major hurdle was the American market — a huge, huge market for Pinoy boxing, given that there are over four million Filipinos residing in America. Nearly half of all Filipinos, if my research is correct, reside in California. Thus, next month’s October 17 promotion of ALA Boxing is ideally situated in the 8,000-seater Stub Hub Center in Carson, Los Angeles.
Michael Aldeguer credits his company’s securing of the U.S. boxing license not solely on himself — although he is the CEO.
“The credibility of the name ‘ALA’ helped a lot in putting us in the map,” he said. Ever mindful of how they started, he pays tribute to his father, Antonio Lopez Aldeguer, who, thirty years ago in 1985, founded and started the ALA Gym.
“It was because of my dad’s love and passion for the sport — and mainly because he wanted to help poor kids out of poverty,” said Michael. “The tradition and history dad has built through the fighters and trainers made the difference. The ALA Boxing group wouldn’t be where we are now without my father who is still the Chairman.”
Michael also gives credit to ABS-CBN, in particular to Gabby and Raffy Lopez, the owners of the TV giant, for believing in their vision and plans. He cites one other ABS-CBN top official, Peter Musngi, the VP for Sports (and also the voice of ABS-CBN and now the consultant for sports), for bringing their plans to Gabby and making things happen. “Without ABS-CBN,” says Michael, “we wouldn’t be here.”
The ALA Sports Promotions International Inc. (ALASPI) — the full name of the company — has a clear direction, thanks to their CEO.
“We have a strong foundation in our organization and the employees follow the culture,” he added. “There is a path they need to follow to carry the tradition and values we expect at ALA. If they don’t, then we take them out and replace the positions with the right people to ensure that they carry the values in the organization for the future.”
Finally, in our Q & A via email, Michael complimented one sector for helping promote boxing.
“The last but certainly not the least is the Cebu media,” he said. “The Cebu media has helped our organization the past years to be recognized, at first, nationally, then in Asia, and now the world.”
The goal of being in Ameica is what Mr. Aldeguer has always sought after. “You have to be in the U.S. to be taken seriously in the boxing world,” he said, citing the great Manny Pacquiao as the leader in promoting Philippine boxing.
“Donnie Nietes, Nonito Donaire and Brian Villoria have also carried the torch,” he said. “And they will soon pass it on to the new stars of the sport. It is for this reason that we worked hard in getting a U.S. license so our future stars don’t have to rely on American promoters and TV networks to be able to fight in the US. We can show the world too that not only do we have great Filipino fighters but we have a capable promotional company and TV network.”
As to making Cebu known worldwide, thanks to ‘Pinoy Pride’ and ALA Boxing, Michael says: “During our international interviews or write-ups, we always use ‘Cebu-based ALA Promotions.’ We are so proud to be a Cebu-based company and it is our pride to be Cebuano.”