Pinay pugs boost PH’s hope for gold in SEAG

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Josie Gabuco throws a left jab against Xu Shiqi of China. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Josie Gabuco throws a left jab against Xu Shiqi of China. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Philippine women’s boxing team coach Roel Velasco said that the country’s female pugs led by veteran Josie Gabuco would boost the Philippines’ hunt for gold medals in the 28th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in Singapore.

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Velasco, who won a bronze medal during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, declared that his wards are ready to compete against the bets of powerhouse countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar.

“Our women’s boxing team has the experience and dedication. I believe they can contribute well in the medal production in this SEA Games,” Velasco told The Manila Times before leaving Manila for Singapore on Wednesday. “They’ve trained very hard for this.”

The 27-year-old former world champion, Gabuco, who won the gold medal during the 2011 and 2013 SEAG edition, will hunt for her third straight gold medal when she competes in the women’s light flyweight (45 kg to 48 kg) class on June 6.

“We will know their opponent after the draw on the same date of competition [June 6[,” added Velasco.

Alliances of Boxing Association of the Philippines Executive Director Ed Picson, who’s now in Singapore, predicted that Nesthy Petecio would win a gold medal in the women’s bantamweight class (54 kg).

“Nesthy also has a vast experience like Josie, but I truly believe that the entire team is potentially able to contribute in the Philippines’ campaign in Singapore,” Picson told The Manila Times via e-mail. “I think Irish Magno and Rizza Pauit are capable of pulling some surprises.”

Magno will compete in the 51 kg class and Pauit will fight in the 57 kg division.

The men’s boxing team, competing without the injured Mark Anthony Barriga and Charly Suarez, will rely on Rogen Ladon (49 kg), Ian Clark Bautista (42 kg), Mario Fernandez (56 kg), Junel Cantancio (60 kg), Emir Felix Marcial (69 kg), and Wilfredo Lopez (75kg).

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