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Olympic boxers back for SEA Games


PhilBoxing.com



L-R: Olympic medalists Paalam, Marcial and Petecio.

ABAP head coach Don Abnett said yesterday he’s 100 percent sure the country’s four Tokyo Olympic boxers will be back in the ring to go for gold at the SEA Games in Vietnam in May but at the moment, he’s mapping out plans to recall the national pool for training as soon as PSC gives the go-signal.

Abnett hasn’t left Manila since arriving from Tokyo last August and it’s been over two years that he hasn’t visited family in Australia, his home country. He’s scheduled for an appearance at the Bureau of Immigration on Wednesday for an extension of his work visa. “From what they’ve indicated, Nesthy (Petecio), Carlo (Paalam), Eumir (Marcial) and Irish (Magno) will fight in the next SEA Games,” said Abnett.

ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson cited two factors in explaining the boxing team’s unprecedented showing in Tokyo, reflected by two silvers and a bronze or a 75 percent success rate. “The first factor was Abnett and the second was the fair officiating that was a result of IOC taking over supervision through the Boxing Task Force from AIBA,” he said. “Don deserves credit. Since he joined in 2019, we’ve captured a gold and silver at the worlds, dominated the last SEA Games, qualified four boxers to the Olympics and brought back three Olympic medals. Don’s totally committed to ABAP. I think since coming over from Australia three years ago, he’s visited his kids only once and just for two weeks.”

Picson said the conduct of the Olympic boxing event went smoothly. “I really don’t know about AIBA,” he said. “There doesn’t seem to be any effort from AIBA to comply with IOC’s demands for reform. All I know is the Olympic event was conducted fair and square by the task force. Price Waterhouse was brought in to make sure procedures were above board, they were strict, meticulous and methodical. They were contracted by IOC even during the qualifying stages.”

Abnett said there are about four female and six male boxers living in Baguio but training camp hasn’t been opened, pending IATF approval. “We’re doing online training,” he said. “Actually, we need to see our boxers face to face, analyze their condition before we decide who’ll be in the national pool. Our Olympians are still celebrating and running around the country but they deserve it. Once we get approval to resume training, we’ll recall everyone.”

Abnett said ABAP is considering a return to Thailand for training, repeating what the team did before the Olympics. Before the year ends, Abnett said ABAP plans to participate in the Asian U22 Championships in Uzbekistan on Dec. 7-17 and the AIBA World Women’s Championships in Istanbul in December with no definite dates set. A total of $2.6 million in prize money will be at stake in Istanbul with $100,000 for a gold medal, $50,000 for a silver and $25,000 for a bronze.


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


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