Wanted: Sparring partners.
If you think the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) has adequately been providing members of the national pool all they need in their build up for the coming 30th Southeast Asian Games, think again.
Fact is Filipino boxers, especially those in the higher weight classes, and with barely 53 days before the SEA Games the country is hosting opens on November 30, are still in search of sparring partners to help them hone their skills for the big days ahead.
Not actually the fault of ABAP, though.
“We really are facing difficulty finding boxers, who, members of the teams need as dancing partners during sparring,” ABAP Secretary General Ed Picson admitted to this writer in a telephone conversation on Monday.
“Especially Eunir [Marcial], a middleweight, and others in the higher weight categories,” Picson reasoned out. “Even pros are refusing to play the role.”
“The problem really is, amateur fights only last for three rounds. Ibig sabihin ang sparring hindi dapat tumagal ng three rounds. ‘Pag tumagal ng three rounds, amateurs will get burned out, “ Picson further explained.
“In a three-round sparring, on the other hand, it is the pros who get tired easily because of the fast pace action sparring the amateur division requires,” he added. “That’s how amateurs and pros differ.”
“Sa professional fights kasi, mabagal ang aksyon. The pros need to warm up first before they can mix it up,” he averred. “In amateur fights, pagtunog ng opening bell, bakbakan agad. Paspasan, kaya hindi tumatagal ang pros.”
To remedy the situation, Picson said plan is afoot to set up training camps in England or Australia, or both, where he added there are plenty of big amateurs the Nationals can avail of as dancing mates.
“Most likely, though, Australia would be it because our coaching consultant, Don Abnett is from Queensland and he promised to help in facilitating visa requirements,” Picson said. “But if we can find ways to facilitate acquiring of entry permits, mas maganda. Mas marami tayong magagamit.”
If both camps will be made available, the Nationals in both the men’s and women’s sides will leave middle of this month.
Picson said the proposed training camps will decide the final composition of the two national squads.
Besides Marcial, a silver medalist in the recently concluded World Championships Russia, who is seeking a third gold medal in the SEA Games, those in contention for slots in the Philippine team are Carlo Paalam (light flyweight), Rogen Ladon (flyweight), Ian Clark Bautista (bantamweight) and Charly Suarez (lightweight).
Also hoping for a seat in the lineup are James Palicte (light welterweight), Joel Bacho (welterweight) and John Tupas-Marvin (light-heavyweight), who, like Marcial, is a gold medalist in the last 2017 Games in Kuala Lumpur.
Josie Gabuco (light flyweight), Irish Magno (flyweight), Aira Villegas (bantamweight), Nesthy Petecio (featherweight) and Risa Pasuit (lightweight) are the strongest candidates for the women’s squad.