EVERYONE’S back to square one as the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) starts its traditional selection process on who will compete in this September’s Hangzhou Asian Games—a qualifier for next year’s Paris Olympics.
And that includes Tokyo Olympics silver medalists Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio, who won two of the four boxing gold medals at the Cambodia 32nd Southeast Asian Games, as well as bronze medalist now professional Eumir Felix Marcial
“It boils down to the usual box off for the Asian Games—for those who want to qualify for the Olympics,” ABAP head coach Pat Gaspi told BusinessMirror on Sunday.
“There are limited weight classes in the Asian Games, that’s why the selection process won’t be easy,” Gaspi said. “The process starts this week.”
At least 40 boxers in the national pool are expected at the Philippine Sports Commission training camp inside Teachers’ Camp in Baguio City on Monday to kick off their Hangzhou campaign.
Much of the attention would be on Paalam, who fought as a bantamweight after Tokyo on orders of the ABAP coaching staff to give way to natural flyweight Rogen Ladon.
Paalam needs to revert to flyweight and will have to figure in a box off with Ladon, who settled for a silver medal in Phnom Penh.
“That’s for sure, Carlo needs to go down in weight,” Gaspi said. “Ladon? He needs to work hard and prove that he’s worthy of the Asian Games slot.”
The Hangzhou and Paris Olympics programs have men’s flyweight, featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, heavyweight and super heavyweight, while the women’s class has flyweight, featherweight, lightweight, welterweight and middleweight.
Petecio, 31, said she wants to return to the Olympics
“I’m not in full condition yet physically and mentally, but I’m getting there,” said the 2019 world champion Petecio.
The window for Hangzhou includes overseas competitions in Kazakhstan and Thailand and a possible training camp in India.
The Hangzhou 20th Asian Games are set September 23 to October 8.
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