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Sid Vicera Sees Thailand, Vietnam Crowding PH in SEAG Boxing


PhilBoxing.com




Thailand remains the biggest threat to the Philippines' bid for the overall championship in the forthcoming Southeast Asian Games boxing competition, with Vietnam as dark horse.

This was how three time SEA Games gold medalist Isidro Vicera sized up the country's competition in the boxing event of the biennial regional sports meet to be held at the PICC in Pasay City.

Vicera who also became national team coach during the time of former ABAP president Manny Lopez in the early to late 2000s has observed that Thailand, with huge support from their government, usually prepare for any major tournament at earliest time possible, even sending their team to train in Germany and Cuba.

This he said has paid handsome dividends as Thailand has been able to get to the medal podium in almost every Olympics since 1996 in Atlanta, the last time that the Philippines through Mansueto 'Onyok' Velasco earned a medal in boxing, a golden silver.

Vicera said that Vietnam has steadily improved in boxing, discovering and developing talents from among its youth that it has now surpassed former regional rivals Indonesia and Malaysia in terms of readiness and strength by following Thailand's strategy of overseas training, including in Russia.

He said both countries have also been active in participating in as many international competitions as they can accommodate in their training schedules.

The Philippines under the current ABAP leadership has not been far behind in terms of training and preparation, Vicera said and being the host is an advantage if our boxers live up to expectations and not buckle.

Vicera expects middleweight Eumir Marcial and featherweight Nesthy Petecio, silver and gold medalists in the recent world men's and women's boxing championships to lead the charge for the overall championship in the Manila SEA Games 2019.

Marcial will be aiming to duplicate Vicera's feat of three consecutive golds.

Other members of the PH men's team are Carlo Paalam (light flyweight), Rogen Ladon (flyweight), Ian Clark Bautista (bantamweight), pro Charly Suarez (lightweight), James Palicte (light welterweight), Joel Bacho (welterweight) and John Tupas Marvin (light heacyweight).

The women's team is composed of Petecio, Josie Gabuco ( lght fluweight), Irish Magno (flyweight), Aira Villegas (bantamweight) and Risa Pasuit.

Vicera while acknowledging that the current ABAP leadership has been doing a good job with Philippine amateur boxing, said that he and now Manila Representative Manny Lopez would be very eager to get back and again help in developing the Filipino youth through the sport.

Vicera was gold medalist in the flyweight class in three consecutive SEA,Games: Kuala Lumpur in 1989, Manila in 1991 and Singapore in 1993. He also won a silver in the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing.

He also competed in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics where Roel Velasco, Onyok's older brother won the bronze at light flyweight. He reached second round of the flyweight competition before he was eliminated.

For the record, Leopoldo Serrantes had earlier won the country's first Olympic medal, a bronze in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, decades after the Villanueva father and son tandem of Cely and Anthony had won the last two, a bronze and a silver in separate Olympics, the latter in 1964 in Tokyo.

When he could no longer maintain his best fighting weight as he aged and grew, Vicera decided to retire from amateur boxing but he never pursued a career in the pros and instead channeled his time and energy helping prepare succeeding national teams as assistant, later full time coach during the tenure of Manny Lopez.

He said he is now coaching an amateur club in Dagupan City apart from serving as a staff of Rep. Lopez.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.


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