Veteran international campaigners Mario Fernandez, Ian Clark Bautista and Eumir Felix Marcial try to secure a pair of bronze medals when they clash with separate foes in the boxing competition of the 29th Southeast Asian Games at the MITEC Hall 8 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Bautista, the 22-year old pride of Binalbagan, Negros Occidental, will kick off the national boxers’ campaign when he battles Abdul Salam B. Kasim of Malaysia in the quarterfinals of the flyweight division while Marcial faces Nguyen Mang Cuong of Vietnam in the quarterfinals of the middleweight class.
Two-time SEA Games gold medalist Mario Fernandez, on the other hand, will have to take the long route as he starts his campaign in the preliminaries against Maung Nge of Myanmar in the bantamweight class.
“Malampasan sana natin ang mga una nating kalaban and, hopefully, they all make it to the semis,” said Alliance of Boxing Association of the Philippines executive director Ed Picson.
Carlo Paalam, the youngest on the team at 19, will compete in the flyweight category to fill the void left by Rogen Ladon, who opted to fight in the AIBA World Championships from Aug. 25 to Sept. 3 in Hamburg, Germany.
Paalam drew a bye to the quarterfinals where he would clash with Muhamad Fuad B.M. Redzuan of Malaysia on Monday.
Also fighting on Monday is Filipino-British recruit Marvin Tupaz, who also advanced to the quarterfinals against Felix Merlin Martinez of Cambodia in the light heavyweight category.