HAMBURG, Germany: Filipino light-flyweight Rogen Ladon gets to see old, familiar faces when he plunges into action in the 2017 AIBA World Championships that officially comes off the wraps Friday at the Sporthalle.
There are a few names that ring a bell but Ladon has his sights trained on a trio notorious for inflicting him hurt and pain: Rio Olympics gold medalist Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan and silver medalist Yuberjen Martinez of Colombia and Vasilii Egorov of Russia.
Ladon, who took the bronze in the 2015 edition held in Qatar, wants to at least match his feat two years ago.
But it is not going to be easy as evidenced by the presence of the same punchers who regularly stand side-by-side in the medal podium in major tournaments held each year.
Still, Ladon remains unfazed as he aims to make heads turn in his trip that was funded by the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines in coordination with the Philippine Sports Commission.
“Kami-kami rin na magkaka-kilala ang nagkikita-kita pero sa kundisyunan na lang magkakatalo ‘yan,” said Ladon on Wednesday, barely 24 hours after arriving here from Manila via Istanbul.
In Rio, Ladon got eliminate early after being upset by Martinez, who eventually took the silver behind Dusmatov, a crafty guy Ladon also has trouble beating.
Egorov, who topped the European qualifying, is also one fellow Ladon has fought and lost to.
In the semifinals of the 2015 worlds, Ladon dropped a decision to Egorov.
Ladon’s coaches, Nolito ‘Boy’ Velasco and Ronald Chavez, are upbeat that the Bago City native would exact payback.
“Handa si Rogen. Lalaban ‘yan ng husto,” said Velasco.
Chavez insists Ladon is focused on returning home with a medal.
“Determinadong manalo at mag-uwi ng medalya,” said Chavez, who will help out Velasco in the cornerwork not only of Ladon but also of fly bet Dannel Maamo.
Of the total 280 fighters seeing action here, 18 are Rio Olympics medalists.