Philippines, 29 Feb 2024
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Boxers ready for SEA Games

Eight of nine male boxers competing in the coming SEA Games are deep in training in Shymkent, Kazakhstan with coaches Ronald Chavez, Gerson Nietes and Elmer Pamisa while heavyweight 92 kg contender Markus Tongco and three female fighters are staying sharp at Teachers Camp in Baguio with coaches Pat Gaspi, Don Abnett, Roel Velasco, Elias Recaido, Reynaldo Galido, Violito Payla, Joegen Ladon and Mitchel Martinez.

The boxers in Kazakhstan are minimumweight 48 kg Mark Durens, flyweight 51 kg Rogen Ladon, bantamweight 54 kg Carlo Paalam, featherweight 57 kg Ian Clark Bautista, lightweight 60 kg Paul Bascon, lightwelterweight 63.5 kg James Palicte, welterweight 67 kg Norlan Petecio and lightheavyweight 80 kg John Marvin. Their training schedule is for 10 days and they return to Manila on Sunday.

The three females vying for honors in Cambodia are flyweight 54 kg Irish Magno, featherweight 57 kg Nesthy Petecio and lightwelterweight 63 kg Riza Pasuit. The maximum boxers allowed for countries except host Cambodia are nine of 12 for men and three of five for women. The Philippines is skipping the lightmiddleweight 71 kg, cruiserweight 86 kg and superheavyweight +92 kg divisions for men and welterweight 69 kg and middleweight 75 kg divisions for women.

ABAP secretary-general Marcus Manalo said he expects limited contenders in the higher weight divisions. “We can’t be sure how many entries are there per weight category,” he said. “Only the organizers know at this point.” If in a weight category, only four boxers are entered, it means they’re all guaranteed at least a bronze.

The team is bannered by Tokyo Olympic silver medalists Paalam and Petecio. Magno also competed in the last Olympics so the experience will go a long way in her SEA Games campaign. Magno lost to Thailand’s Jutamas Jitpong in the round of 16 in Tokyo. Olympic bronze medalist Eumir Marcial recently underwent an operation to remove a growth in between the knuckles in his right hand and won’t be available for the SEA Games. But Marcial plans to join the team at ringside in Cambodia for moral support.

In the previous SEA Games, the Philippines ranked third in the overall boxing medal standings with three gold, one silver and five bronzes. Thailand had four, two and three while Vietnam collected three, two and two. Hitting paydirt for the Philippines were flyweight Ladon, bantamweight Bautista and middleweight Marcial. The silver was from flyweight Magno. The bronzes came from lightweight Palicte, welterweight Marjon Pianar, lightflyweight Josie Gabuco, featherweight Pasuit and lightweight Petecio.

When the Philippines hosted the 2019 edition, it topped the boxing ladder with seven gold, three silver and two bronze medals. The gold medalists were lightflyweight Paalam, flyweight Ladon, lightweight Charly Suarez, lightwelterweight Palicte, middleweight Marcial, lightflyweight Gabuco and featherweight Petecio.

Photo: Tokyo Olympics silver medalists Carlo Paalam (L) and Nesthy Petecio (R) banner the Philippines SEA Games campaign.

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

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