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Suarez to go for Olympic gold


PhilBoxing.com



Suarez.

Three-time SEA Games gold medalist Charly Suarez is hoping to join Olympic boxing ticket-holders Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno in going for gold in Tokyo next year but it remains to be seen if he can clinch a slot with the Philippine team that will participate in the World Qualifying Tournament (WQT) in May or June at a still undetermined site.

Suarez, 31, took the gold medal in the 60 kg (132.3 pounds) lightweight division in the SEA Games last December but in the Olympics, weight limits are different. The Olympic featherweight limit is 57 kg (125.7 pounds) and lightweight, 63 kg (138.9 pounds). Last February, Suarez notched his fourth win as a pro, halting Dave Barlas, and scaled 130 pounds.

Suarez said he plans to fight in the Olympic featherweight division but that means bringing down his weight to 57 kg. He recently talked about trying to make it back to the national team with ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson. “Ako’y taos pusong lalahok kung bigyan ako ng pagkakataon ng ABAP,” said Suarez. “Tinanong ni Boss Ed kung anong timbang ang lalaban ko at sagot ko 57 kg kasi 59 kg ako sa pro. Kaya ko ito at pagsumikapan ko. Inform ni Boss Ed ako kung kailan ang schedule sa qualifying at balik ako sa ABAP. Si Boss Ed, tinuturing kong pangalawang ama kasi isa po ‘yan na nag hubog ng pagkatao ko. Marami akong natutunan sa buhay na galing sa kaniyang advice na ina-apply ko ngayon.”

Suarez said if he’s given a chance to fight in the Olympics, it will be different from when he was eliminated in his first fight by Wales’ Joe Cordina in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. “By God’s grace, kung ibigay itong pagkakataon sa akin, di ko ito sasayangin at pakakawalan ng mag-qualify,” he said. “Ang experience na naranasan ko, ito’y nag bibigay hubog sa akin para maging mabuting atleta outside and inside, pasalamat ako sa mga pagkakamali at pagkukulang ko dati para mapunan ko ngayon at mai-perform ang best ko.”

There will be five featherweight slots available at the WQT which was originally set on May 13-24 this year in Paris. So far, 17 tickets have been taken, eight from Europe, three from Africa and six from Asia/Oceania. Five slots are reserved for the Americas, five for the WQT and one wildcard tripartite invitation. The Asia/Oceania qualifiers are Mirazizbek Mirzakhalinov of Uzbekistan, Chatchai Butdee of Thailand, Danial Shahbakhsh of Iran, Nguyen Van Duong of Vietnam, Serik Temirzhanov of Kazakhstan and Mohammad Al-Wadi of Jordan.

To make it to the WQT, Suarez has to prevail over other Filipino hopefuls Ian Clark Bautista, Mario Fernandez and Vincent Siordia in box-offs. Suarez’ advantage is his experience. Aside from an eventful amateur career, Suarez has logged a pro record of 4-0, with 4 KOs. A pro who has qualified for Tokyo in the superheavyweight class is Uzbek two-time Asian champion and 2019 AIBA world titlist Bakhodir Jalolov.

Suarez said he’s been invited to face a Korean fighter in a six-round exhibition and spar with Uzbek boxers in Vietnam. But travel restrictions have put the plans on hold. In October, Suarez is lined up to battle Defry Palulu of Indonesia in a 10-rounder for the WBC Asia superfeatherweight title. The fight against Palulu was initially scheduled at the Elorde Sports Complex in Sucat last May 9 but was postponed due to the pandemic. Palulu, 29, is a 5-8 southpaw with a 22-2-1 record, including 13 KOs. One of his losses was to A. J. Banal by knockout in Cebu in 2014.

Despite the lockdown, Suarez said he continues to train on his own. He has asked permission from Picson to train with the national team but the Rizal Memorial premises are still off-limits to athletes to accommodate COVID-19 patients. “Sa tulong ng Panginoon, makakalaro ako sa qualifying,” said Suarez.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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