Boxers set bold goal: six-gold sweep
The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines is sending a full deck of boxers built to sweep the gold medals in the 29th Southeast Asian Games.
There are only six weight categories in the Kuala Lumpur SEAG next month and Abap executive director Ed Picson said they’re fielding in a complete lineup headed by lightwelter weight Charly Suarez, middleweight Eumir Felix Marcial and bantamweight Mario Fernandez.
Flyweight Ian Clark Bautista, light heavyweight John Marvin and light-flyweight Carlo Paalam are also expected to vie for the golds after Abap president Ricky Vargas had told the team that losing would definitely be unacceptable.
“Our president said there’s no excuse for failure. We gave all the things that the boxers needed plus the sufficient exposure,’’ said Picson during the Philippine Sportswriters Association forum at the Golden Phoenix Hotel.
Bautista and Fernandez captured gold medals in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.
“We’re hoping that since everything is being done properly, our boxers and coaches will deliver,’’ said Picson.
He also explained in the weekly forum backed by Accel, Pagcor and San Miguel Corporation that the tight schedule of the SEA Games and the forthcoming Aiba World Championships in Hamburg, Germany forced them to make a tough choice among the boxers.
Rio De Janeiro Olympian Rogen Ladon (light flyweight) and flyweight Daniel Maamo were chosen to compete in the world championships. Picson said Marcial also made it to the world championships but they felt Marcial would be better off in the SEAG.
“It seems that the public is more aware and concerned with the SEA Games rather than the world championships,’’ said Picson. “We had to consider public perception.’’
Prior to the KL Games (Aug. 19-30) and the world championships (Aug. 25-Sept.2), Filipino boxers will also figure in the Asian Junior Boxing Championships in Puerto Princesa, Palawan on Aug. 1-8.
Around 20 to 30 Asian nations are expected to attend the junior continental meet reserved for boxers aged 15 to 16 years old.
“Our counterparts are putting a lot of emphasis on this age-group because this is where it all begins as the boxers get to the youth championships (17-18 years) and then to the elite level,’’ said Picson.