Suarez eyes national team comeback
Boxer Charly Suarez punched the mitts with his mentor, Olympic bronze medalist Roel Velasco the other day, an indication of his desire to suit up for the national team again.
And despite being 33 years old, this isn’t some washed-up has-been looking for one last shot at glory. This is a pro boxer who has won all his eight fights in the super featherweight division, six of them by knockout.
Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (Abap) secretary general Ed Picson confirmed on Wednesday that the Rio De Janeiro Olympian has expressed interest in representing the nation in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and Asian Games next year.
“The last time we talked, he said yes,’’ said Picson, positive on the stance of Suarez to return to the ring with the national boxing squad.
“But I haven’t seen him since the SEA Games. He will have to undergo the usual process, if ever,” added Picson.
He was sterling in the SEA Games two years ago here. He became the first pro boxer to win a gold medal in the regional meet.
And the thrill of winning for the country seems to have lured Suarez back to the national program where he hopes to medal in the SEA Games and the Asian Games to pave a possible path to the Paris Olympics in 2024.
Besides, training with the national program benefits his pro career.
“Going back to the basics strengthens your foundation,’’ said Suarez after his recent training with Velasco, a 1992 Barcelona Olympics bronze medalist.
Suarez struck gold in the SEA Games thrice—once as a featherweight in Laos (2009) and twice as a lightweight in Palembang, Indonesia (2011) and in Manila (2019).
The prized find from Davao del Norte narrowly missed the gold in the lightweight division of the 2014 Asian Games.
“It was a privilege to have spent the day with one of my mentors, coach Roel. His vast knowledge and experience in the sport of boxing still shines to this day and I am glad to have been mentored by him,’’ Suarez posted on his Facebook page.
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