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Vargas brings luck to boxers


PhilBoxing.com




From when ABAP chairman Ricky Vargas arrived in Bangkok last Thursday to witness the final four days of competition at the World Olympic Boxing Qualifiers, Carlo Paalam and Hergie Bacyadan went undefeated on their way to booking tickets to the Paris Olympics. The “lucky charm” was accompanied by POC president Mayor Bambol Tolentino at ringside for Paalam’s clincher last Saturday then ABAP president Rep. Robbie Puno joined them for Bacyadan’s closer the next day.

ABAP sent four fighters to Bangkok with flyweight Rogen Ladon and lightwelterweight Pitt Laurente losing in their first bouts to eventual Olympic qualifiers. Paalam took down five opponents to claim one of three passages up for grabs in the featherweight division. Bacyadan defeated three opponents to take one of four tickets available in the women’s middleweight class.

“Carlo fought five fights in seven days and all were win or be eliminated,” said Vargas. “He’s an amazing Filipino athlete, so proud of him, pusong Pinoy. Carlo was all business, a pure boxer. He fought with a plan and didn’t get distracted by his opponents’ boasting. Before his last fight, I told him he’s a winner and an Olympian but what’s more important is ikaw naniniwala na you can do it again, that’s all that matters. I also spoke to Hergie before her last fight and she told me she wouldn’t let go of the opportunity to go to Paris and she would do her all. I told her it’s yours, just box and stay focused because your opponent will only beat you if you allow it.”

Paalam, 25, scored four 5-0 wins and one 4-1 to breeze to a second Olympic stint while Bacyadan, 29, had two 5-0 victories and one, 3-2. They join lightheavyweight Eumir Marcial, 28, lightflyweight Aira Villegas, 28 and featherweight Nesthy Petecio, 32, in the five-strong boxing squad in Paris.

In assessing the performance in Bangkok, ABAP coach Don Abnett said Paalam and Bacyadan were outstanding. “Carlo was at his best and every fight was great,” said Abnett. “He’s capable of doing better things in Paris. Hergie’s final opponent (Maryelis Yriza) was a slow starter from analyzing other bouts so the tactics were to jump on her early and let her feel Hergie’s power and that worked. Hergie kept beating her to the punch and her opponent was rocked with strong punches, was given a standing eight-count, resorted to holding and was deducted a point. Pitt was only back with the team for a short period and probably didn’t have enough time to readjust to the amateur style. Rogen under-performed and was capable of doing much better.”

Photo: ABAP chairman Ricky Vargas (center) with Olympic boxing qualifiers (from left) Aira Villegas, Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Hergie Bacyadan.


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


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