Singapore Southeast Asian Games gold winner Josie Gabuco survived a grueling bout against Bulgarian fourth seed Sevda Asenovato advance to the second round of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) Women’s World Boxing Championship being held at the Barys Arena in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Gabuco, a four-time SEA Games champio, pulled off a split decision win over her Bulgarian opponent in the light flyweight division. She will be facing Volha Lushchyk of Belarus in the next round.
Despite Gabuco’s victory, the Filipino female boxing team won’t have any boxer who will qualify in the Olympics after flyweight Nesthey Petecio and featherweight Irish Magno failed in their respective weight classes.
Petecio, 24, lost to Morocco’s Zohra Ez Zahraoui via split decision in the early round, while Magno absorbed a unanimous decision loss against Bolortuul Tumurkhuyag of Mongolia on Friday.
Only two Filipino boxers are assured of an Olympic slot so far. They are light flyweight Rogen Ladon of Bago, Negros Occidental and lightweight Charly Suarez of Davao Del Sur, who made it to the Olympics after making to the final round of the Olympic Asia-Oceania qualifying in China in April.
The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) will send three boxers in the final Olympic qualifying tournament scheduled on June 16 to 25 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Bantamweight Mario Fernandez, welterweight Eumir Felix Marcial, flyweight Ian Clark Bautista and flyweight Roldan Boncales are the possible boxers who will compete in Baku.
JOSEF T. RAMOS