Four-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Josie Gabuco and the rest of the Philippine women’s boxing team will intensify their training though women’s boxing was not included in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this August.
Women’s boxing coach Roel Velasco said that the 29-year-old light flyweight Gabuco is preparing to compete in various international tournaments.
“She (Gabuco) is still determined to compete in other tournaments even though women’s boxing is not included in the Malaysia SEA Games this year,” said Velasco in a phone interview. Velasco is the elder brother of 1996 Atlanta Olympics silver medalist Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco.
“The women’s boxing team especially Josie will be resuming their training starting Monday next week in Baguio. All national boxers will go up to Baguio. Aside from Josie, women’s team captain Nesthy Petecio and Irish Magno are our other top female boxers.”
Velasco said that Gabuco is a good role model for up and coming Filipina boxers.
“Josie is also considered by our foreign counterparts as a tough opponent in the world level. She is the senior among fellow boxers. She serves as a good role model to them. She trains very hard just like the other boxers. She doesn’t give up even in sparring.”
“I’m expecting also that there are new faces that will emerge this year in women’s boxing.”
Gabuco won the gold medal in the light flyweight class during the World Women’s Boxing Championship in Qinhuangdao, China in 2012. She also won the gold medal in women’s boxing during the 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015 editions of the SEA Games.
Meanwhile, Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines Executive Director Ed Picson expressed disappointment over the decision of the SEA Games Organizing Committee to remove women’s boxing in the 2017 edition of the biennial meet.
“We are disappointed but we can’t do anything about it except to keep our women boxers very busy in training and other competitions,” Picson said in a text message.
“Well, since it is four events, we have lost four potential gold medals in the SEA Games.”
JOSEF T. RAMOS