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Boxers await qualifying draw


PhilBoxing.com



L-R: Ladon, Paalam, Laurente and Bacyadan.

Four intrepid boxers hoping to represent the Philippines in the coming Paris Olympics are awaiting the draw for the final world qualifiers set in Bangkok on May 24-June 2. ABAP secretary-general Marcus Manalo arrives in the Thai capital today to join the team and will submit the fighters’ documents to the organizers for the entry checks tomorrow before the draw the next day. Action begins on Friday. ABAP chairman Ricky Vargas will attend the hostilities this weekend.

The four boxers are Rogen Ladon (51kg), Carlo Paalam (57g), Criztian Pitt Laurente (63.5kg) and Hergie Bacyadan (75kg). Early qualifiers are Eumir Marcial (80kg), Nesthy Petecio (57kg) and Aira Villegas (50kg). Five Olympic slots are available in Laurente’s weight class while four are up for grabs where Ladon and Bacyadan compete. Three tickets are at stake in Paalam’s division.

“We chose to send only four to Bangkok to focus on the fighters with the best chances not only to qualify but to go all the way to Paris and win medals,” said Manalo. “They’ve been in Bangkok since May 5 so they’re well adjusted to local conditions. Eumir, Nesthy and Aira are also in Bangkok for training. Pitt is transitioning back from the pros and we’re optimistic of his chances with five slots available in his weight class.”

From Bangkok, the boxing team will return to Manila for those who are bound for Paris to apply for Schengen visas. Manalo said if time allows, he plans to arrange a camp in Uzbekistan from 10 days to two weeks before leaving for Metz, France, with the rest of the Philippine delegation on June 22. “Uzbekistan qualified male boxers in every Olympic division and we can learn a lot from them, their training methods, culture, style,” said Manalo. “If ever, it’ll be a joint effort between Uzbekistan and us. Their boxers in the A, B and C categories are all world-class. We can bring whatever we learn to Paris.”


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


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