The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) announced on Sunday the lineup of boxers that will compete in the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying tournament in Qian’ An, China starting on March 23.
The national boxers who will vie for one of three male slots and one of two female slots in their respective weight categories are: Rogen Ladon (light flyweight, 49 kg.), Roldan Boncales (flyweight, 52 kg.), Mario Fernandez (bantamweight, 56 kg.), Charly Suarez (60 kg.), Eumir Felix Marcial (welterweight, 69 kg.) and Nesthy Petecio (women’s flyweight, 51 kg.).
The six were part of a group of 14 boxers who went on a whirlwind 18-day training camp in four cities in the West Coast of the United States: Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
The boxers were recommended by four coaches who traveled with the group deputy head coach Nolito Velasco, women’s head coach Roel Velasco, 3-star AIBA coach and 3-time Olympian Romeo Brin and the only female coach in ABAP, Mitchel Martinez.
The ABAP Sports Science team composed of nutritionist Arabella Ripoll, strength and conditioning coach Mark Limbaga, sports psychologist Marcus Manalo and performance analyst Jeff Pagaduan were also part of the evaluation process as were the rest of the national coaching staff who figured in the boxers’ training in Baguio City prior to the US trip.
The China tournament includes all Asian countries and Oceania which is composed, among others, of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and other Pacific islands.
A total of 242 male boxers and 55 female pugilists are registered for the qualifiers.
Should more than one Filipino boxer qualify in a particular weight category, ABAP will have to choose only one entry to the Summer Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro in August as mandated by the International Boxing Association (AIBA).
It is worthy to note that the Australian, Papua New Guinea and Malaysian teams spent the last two weeks of their own preparations for the tournament at the ABAP Training Center in Baguio City.
However, the Philippine aspirants had already left for the US when the said foreign contingents arrived in the Summer Capital.
The age average of the group is 23 years old. The most senior is Suarez at 28 and the youngest is Marcial, 19.