Philippines, 29 Feb 2024
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Fil-Brit boxers in ABAP camp

Two Filipino-British boxers are training at Teachers Camp in Baguio, hoping to impress ABAP coaches for a chance to represent the country maybe at the Asian Games and even the Olympics. They’re featherweight Tom Welland and lightwelterweight Brady Cronin who both flew in from the UK over two weeks ago to try out for the national pool.

“They reached out to Eumir (Marcial) and Carlo (Paalam) online and I got in touch with them and their parents,” said ABAP secretary-general Marcus Manalo. “Tom is showing promise, has skills and grit. I’m not sure if he can beat Ian Clark Bautista at this point but he can if he continues his progress. I told them before coming over, they might just be training with no serious intention of competing for the Philippines. They’re trying out for the team.”

Manalo noted that nobody is guaranteed a slot in the Asian Games. “There will be a camp in Baguio after the SEA Games which will serve as tryouts for the Asian Games,” he said. “Tom and Brady are invited to join. We’re really happy to have both in Baguio. They present a new style and some challenge to our boxers so it’s beneficial. Coach Don (Abnett) oversees their training.”

According to the London weekly Boxing News magazine, Welland has won his last 15 bouts since September and during a stretch, he swept nine assignments in 10 weeks in four countries. “I’m half-Filipino,” said Welland. “My mum is from the Philippines. I’m training with the (national) team and there’s the Asian Games in September. If I get a medal there, I qualify for the Olympics. I’m a left-handed orthodox boxer and can box southpaw like (Manny) Pacquiao. I think he’ll like my style. I’m not a stand-up straight puncher. I’m a rough inside fighter.” His amateur record is 35-3. One of his most impressive wins was a one-punch knockout over Alvin Warukata in Sweden last year.

“I was 13 when I started boxing,” he said. “I was playing football for Cambridge United. They wanted me to do strength and conditioning and I went to a boxing gym. I never went back to football. I was never big enough to be a footballer anyway. I’m 5-8 and at 14, I was playing two years up against lads who were 6-3.”

Welland’s sister Ella is also a boxer. “She boxed people’s heads off,” said Welland, referring to his sister’s performance at the recent Golden Girl Box Cup in Sweden. “She beat two Swedish girls then got an Irish girl in the final. Ella hit her with a right hand early on then picked her off. Ella could end up in the Olympics as well.” Welland and Cronin, who won the gold at the King of the Ring tournament in Sweden in 2019, are out to follow in the footsteps of another Fil-Brit John Marvin who’s fighting for the Philippines in the coming Cambodia SEA Games.

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

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