Eight Pinoy boxers go for gold on Wednesday

ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 09, 2015 04:26 PM
Eight Pinoy boxers go for gold on Wednesday
The Philippines has the most boxers in the finals with eight while Thailand has five.

SINGAPOREEight Filipinos climb the ring on Wednesday eyeing nothing less than a gold medal each to propel the Philippines to its best finish in Southeast Asian Games boxing.

The Philippines has the most number of boxers in the finals set the the Expo Hall III. Thailand has five,Vietnam advanced four, Singapore and Indonesia two apiece and Cambodia one.

Although the Thais remain as the Filipinos’ most dangerous foes, the Singaporeans are as solid a threat because of possible hometown decisions that would help the hosts in their bid to dominate the 28th edition of the biennial games.

"Handang-handa ang mga boxers natin," coach Nolito Velasco said. "Nagbunga ang magandang training nila na nagfocus sa stamina, power at speed."

First up at 2 p.m. is former world champion and three-time Sea Games gold medal winner Josie Gabuco against Thai Chuthamat Raksat, a bronze medalist in the 2014 worlds, in the women’s light flyweight finals, followed by Irish Magno in the flyweight clash against Vietnamese Nguyen Thi Yen at 2:15 p.m. and bantamweight Nesthy Petecio against another Vietnamese, Le Thi Bang, at 2:30 p.m.

Four bets in the men’s division will also fight one after the other starting at 3 p.m. Light flyweight Rogen Ladon goes up against Indonesia’s Kornelis Kwangu Langu, flyweight Ian Clark Bautista takes on Singapore’s Mohamed Hamurdin Hamid, bantamweight Mario Fernandez battles Thailand’s Thanes Ongjunta and lightweight Junel Cantancio squares off with Vietnam’s Nguyen Van Hei.

Eumir Felix Marcial fights in the evening program for the welterweight gold medal against another Singaporean, Tai Jia Wei.

Not since the 2007 Sea Games did the Philippines advanced these many boxers to the gold medal roundthe country entered six of seven women and seven of 10 men in the finals. That Nakhon Ratchasima experience, however, turned forgettable after only women’s flyweight Annie Albana, who went on to qualify for the Beijing Olympics with Harry Tanamor, managed a gold medal.

But Velasco is confident of a productive Sea Games this time.

"Kumpyansa ang mga boxers at nakita ko na hindi ganun kalakas ang mga kalaban nila sa finals," Velasco said.

In the 1993 Sea Games also hosted by Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand each had five gold medals but the Thais took the overall title in the sport with three silver medals, one more than the Filipinos.

Patrick Gregorio, secretary general of the Alliance of Boxing Associations of the Philippines, encouraged the boxers to go all out.

"They are ready and they will go for a sweep," Gregorio said.

Only two of the 10-member ABAP team failed to reach the finals. Women’s flyweight Riza Pasuit and middleweight Wilfredo Lopez, who fought with an injured right hand, lost their semifinal bouts on Monday and settled for silver medals.

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