Top seeded Petecio, Marcial lead PH as Olympic boxing qualifiers begin
MANILA, Philippines — The Asian-Oceanian Olympic boxing qualifiers finally get underway Tuesday in Amman, Jordan where seven Filipino boxers will shoot for spots for the Tokyo Games in July.
The Philippines fielded in four male and three female boxers in the event, which was initially slated on Feb. 3 in Wuhan, China but was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Bannering the formidable Filipino contingent are women’s world champion Nesthy Petecio and world middleweight silver medalist Eumir Felix Marcial, who are both seeded at No. 1.
Other Filipinos eyeing a trip to the Tokyo Olympics are flyweight Carlo Paalam (52 kg.), featherweight Ian Clark Bautista (57 kg.), light welterweight James Palicte (63 kg.), and female boxers Irish Magno (51 kg, flyweight) and Riza Pasuit (60 kg., lightweight).
Bautista is the lone Filipino scheduled to fight on opening day as he faces Hayato Tsutsumi of Japan Tuesday at 11 p.m. at Prince Hamzah Hall.
Petecio will make her debut on Wednesday against the winner between Krismi Langkapurayalage of Sri Lanka and Silpa Lau Ratu of Indonesia.
“We could have had a better draw, but our boxers are determined and well-prepared. And for that we thank the Philippine Sports Commission along with our private sponsor, the MVP Sports Foundation,” said Abap secretary-general Ed Picson.
A total of 221 male and female boxers from 35 countries will compete, having passed the Sport Entry Check.
Also part of the Philippine squad are men’s head coach Ronald Chavez, women’s coach Reynaldo Galido, national coaches Roel Velasco and Elmer Pamisa and foreign consultant and former Australia head coach Don Abnett.
“[Marcial and Petecio are the] boxers to beat here and the opposition have them in their sights, but they’re in great shape. The other big guns here are Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, India and Thailand, but we’re not discounting anyone. The coaches prepared our boxers well,” said Abnett.
Those who will fail to qualify will still one last chance to make the Olympics in the World Qualifiers in Paris, France in May.