Philippines, 08 Oct 2022
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PH Boxers, Cagers Suffer From Common Problems: Size, Age


PhilBoxing.com





Pati ba naman sa basketball, talo pa rin tayo sa Japan?

Gilas Pilipinas failed to get the last of the eight slots in the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup tournament after taking a 102-81 drubbing from Japan in their final qualification game in Indonesia.

Gilas had just a win, a whipping of a tall but decidedly low calibered Indian squad, to show in its most recent campaign that saw the squad losing to New Zealand twice, Lebanon and Japan.

Like their counterparts in boxing, players who represented the country in this latest version of Gilas Pilipinas suffered from size and age or experience problems.

Though the team boasted of at least four players standing at above 6-5, it was grossly outsized by the competition who had taller players who could not only shoot from the outside, slash or power inside, rebound strongly but more importantly protect the basket.

The most telling was our lack of tall players who could protect the rim or at least deter the opposition from scoring from in and around the slot. This limitation was of course made worst by the inability of 6-10 reinforcement Angie Kouame to join the team due to recent injury. What is hard to understand is why steps were not taken to bring in the likes of Junmar Fajardo or Japeth Aguilar to shore up the frontline offensively and defensively.

Gilas likewise suffer from age or experience problem with most of its players in their early or mid 20s and a few playing in their first major international tournament. On the other hand, the opposing teams were mostly made up of players of more mature age who have played together for years. Watching Fajardo and Aguilar and the likes of Tenorio, Barooga, even Abueva and Thompson flashing their wares in the PBA makes one think, we are not wanting in size, grit and talent if only...

Why we insist on fielding virtually different and generally inexperienced Gilas teams over the years when continuity and consistency have been the key for most other and more successful countries is really a source of wonder to these days.

Philippine boxing also suffer from the same problems talking of the recent and still ongoing spates of failures and disappointments our boxers have been having especially in major international fights with world titles at stake no less.

With the rare and extraordinary likes of Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire retired or about to retire, the times when Filipino fighters are merely nuisance in weight divisions in or around the bantamweight may be getting back.

Our boxers from the lowest division which is the minimumweight up to about the junior featherweight are competitive with the best that the world could offer. But beyond that point, it is highly doubtful.

In fact, in the featherweight,and even lower, Filipino fighters have started to have problems and difficulties against taller and bigger foreign opposition who are supposed to be their match, weight-wise at least during the official pre-fight weigh ins.

A classic illustration is the recent fight between Mexican challenger Rey Vargas and then defending WBC featherweight titlist Mark Magsayo whose size disparity was very obvious. Do you honestly believe that those two were well matched physically? For one, Vargas could be as big as a welterweight to Magsayo's lightweight by fight time for all we know.

Even in the most recent rematch between Donnie Nietes and WBO super flyweight titlist Kazuto Ioka, the size disparity between the two in favor of the Japanese was not hard to see and proved decisive in the result.

But while our cagers are generally younger and less experienced, our boxers, at least many of our top boxers are already getting old or are decidedly old and jaded. And that has or had been instrumental in their defeats starting with Manny's loss to Yordenis Ugas, Donaire's twin defeat to Naoya Inoue and Nietes's most recent defeat to Ioka.

I don't wonder now why our best fighters from featherweight up like Genesis Servania have been losing their fights abroad dismally. They have been matched against bigger and more powerful adversaries, some two weight classes higher at fight time

Definitely, we have to improve on the stock of both our cagers and boxers especially those campaigning for honor and glory abroad. And we have to ensure that our fighters are matched well---and fairly overseas.

The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at teddyreynoso@yahoo.com and by phone 09215309477.


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


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