By Ray Wheatley — World of Boxing
Philippines-based future Hall of Fame referee Bruce McTavish says China is poised to take over Asian boxing. “China will be the hub of boxing within 5 years, said McTavish. “I was the referee when WBC champion Zhong won the world title. I helped Liu Gang start eight years ago in Kunming, China. Introduced numerous seminars, refs and judges, medical, training tecniques etc. Gang was a pioneer but will be eaten up by the big money guys.”
McTavish was born in New Zealand and moved to the Philippines on February 12, 1967 where he married Carmen Tayag. They have been based in Angeles City, Philippines since the 1970s.
He expressed concerns about Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao saying “Manny lost his focus because of politics and religion.”
Bruce worked Filipino icon Manny Pacquaio’s biggest fight in the Philippines. “Oscar Larios at the Araneta Coliseum. It was the second biggest fight in Philippines boxing history after Ali vs, Frazier. The safest day in history because 80 million people were watching.”
McTavish also refereed Australian great Jeff Fenech’s fight when he captured his first world title in 1985. Comparing Pacquiao to Fenech, McTavish says “At featherweight, Manny would have been too powerful for Jeff.”
At the age of 73, McTavish stays very busy refereeing fights all over Asia and says he feels fit as a fiddle, “with several years left working as a world championship referee…fitness, eating habits and attitude are essential as a referee. I know 40-year-old referees that should not be in a ring. I still have eight years to go to emulate my mentor Arthur Mercante Senior, who worked his last world tile bout at 81 years of age.”