Nonito “Dodong” Donaire Sr. said on Monday that he is voluntarily working as consultant to the national amateur boxing team led by Rio -bound light flyweight Rogen Ladon and lightweight Charly Suarez.
Donaire is the trainer and father of World Boxing Organization super bantamweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr.
“I’m here in Baguio City since last week as consultant to the Philippine boxing team. I’m monitoring the training of our boxers,” Donaire Sr. told The Manila Times in a phone interview on Monday. “They have the potential and the talent to excel. In terms of strategy, they are good. We just have to improve it.”
Donaire also said that the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) does not need to rely too much on professional boxers to win a medal in this year’s Rio Olympics because it has a great pool of amateur boxers.
“They have the skills, stamina and talents. They are capable of competing in international level,” added Donaire. “We just need to polish it. These young boxers are all hardworking and they are very much willing to learn. I’m happy working with them and the amateur coaches.”
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) will now allow professional fighters to compete in the Olympics in August. There is also a possibility that Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao will come out of retirement to represent the Philippines in Rio. But nothing is definite yet as Pacquiao was given by ABAP until May 27 to decide.
Donaire said he would accompany the Philippine boxing team in the US to attend a training camp before competing in the AIBA World Olympic Qualifying tournament in Baku, Azerbaijan on June 16 to 25.
Besides the US training camp, the Philippine boxing team may also train in Cuba.
“They are planning to attend a training camp in US or in Cuba to hone the skills of the boxers before going to Rio,” he said. “I’m very confident there will be more Filipino boxers who will qualify in the Olympics aside from Ladon and Suarez.”
Ladon (49 kg) and Suarez (60 kg) secured their Olympic tickets after reaching the finals of 2016 Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying tournament held in April in China. Both boxers won a silver medal.
Expected to compete in Baku qualifier are London Olympian light flyweight Mark Anthony Barriga, welterweight Eumir Felix Marcial, bantamweight Mario Fernandez and flyweight Roldan Boncales.