Pinay pugs fly to AIBA meet

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Leona Hui of Singapore (left) fights against Jose Gabuco of the Philippines during their women’s light flyweight semifinal boxing bout at the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore. AFP FILE PHOTO

Leona Hui of Singapore (left) fights against Jose Gabuco of the Philippines during their women’s light flyweight semifinal boxing bout at the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore. AFP FILE PHOTO

Veteran campaigner Nesthy Petecio will be leading the country’s campaign in the prestigious 2016 AIBA World Women’s Boxing Championship scheduled on May 19 to 27 at the Barys Arena in Astana, Kazakhstan.

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Joining Petecio in the team are 2012 World Women’s Boxing Championship gold medalist and Singapore Southeast Asian Games champion Josie Gabuco, and Singapore SEA Games silver medalist Irish Magno.

Petecio will be seeing action in the 51-kilogram event while Gabuco takes part in 48 kgs. and Magno participates in 54 kgs. of the tournament sanctioned by the International Boxing Association.

Of the three boxers, only Petecio has a chance to qualify in the Olympics since her event is one of the three weight classes included in the Rio Games calendar.

Besides the 51-kg. category, the International Olympic Committee has approved the inclusion of 60 kgs. and 75 kgs. events.

Petecio needs to reach the final round to secure a spot in the Olympics.

According to Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines national coaching staff member Roel Velasco, the gold and silver medalists will automatically earn berths to Rio Olympics.

Petencio has a strong chance of gaining a spot following her silver-medal finish in the 2014 AIBA World Women’s Boxing Championship held in Jeju Island, South Korea.

“Only Nesthy has a chance of qualifying to the Olympics since her event is included in the calendar of events for Rio Games. She just needs to make it to the final round. We’ve been preparing for this tournament since last year and we’re optimistic of our chances,” said Velasco, a bronze medalist in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

So far, there are two boxers, who qualified to the Rio Games.

They are Charly Suarez (lightweight 60 kgs.) and Rogen Ladon (light flyweight 49 kgs.) – both silver medalists in the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament held recently in China.

The final Olympic qualifying in the men’s division will be on June 7 to 19 when Baku, Azerbaijan hosts the 2016 AIBA World Championship.

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