Filipino boxers set out to nail Olympic slots
MANILA, Philippines—Thirteen more Filipino boxers aim for Olympic slots as the Asian men’s and women’s qualifiers roll off starting April.
Ed Picson, executive director of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (Abap), sees a tough road ahead but expects at least two more Filipinos to advance from the men’s qualifier from April 4 to 13 in Astana, Kazahkstan, and the women’s qualifier from May 9 to 20 in Quinhuangdao, China.
Only light flyweight Mark Anthony Barriga has qualified to the 2012 London Games after making it in last year’s World Championships in Azerbaijan.
Rey Saludar (flyweight) banners the men’s campaign along with Charly Suarez (lightweight), Joejin Ladon and Junel Cantancio (bantamweight), Orlando Tacu-yan and Dennis Galvan (light welterweight), and Nathaniel Montealto and Wilfredo Lopez (welterweight).
Kate Aparri, Josie Gabuco and Nesthy Petecio (light flyweight) lead the women’s side together with Janice Banares and Rica Aquino (light weight).
Among the hopefuls, Picson said Suarez, a Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, faces the toughest road in the Astana men’s qualifier.
“To make it to London, he needs to win the gold in the qualifier,” said Picson, noting there’s only one remaining slot for Asia in the lightweight class.
“But we’re confident that he can pull it off because some of the best boxers in his division have already qualified.”
Picson said the pugs, set to leave in the first week of March, are all ready, but Abap is still looking at the possibility of training in Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan.
“If more of our boxers will qualify, we will give them the best training,” Picson added during the PSA Forum presented by Smart, Pagcor and Shakey’s yesterday at Shakey’s UN Avenue.
Picson also announced Abap’s staging of the National Open boxing championships in Tagbilaran, Bohol from March 4 to 7.