Older and wiser, 3-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Charly Suarez said he vowed to make the most of his opportunity should he qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
Suarez competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics but lost via split decision to Great Britain’s Joseph Cordina in the preliminary stage of the men’s lightweight division.
" 'Yung laban namin na 'yun, isang puntos lang ang lamang niya. Kung ibinigay ko na parang walang bukas, maaaring nanalo ako. Kasi split decision lang," rued Suarez.
" 'Yung nakatalo sa kanya before, tinalo ko na. 'Yung nag-gold tinalo ko na, 'yung nag-bronze natalo ko na. 'Yung mga nagmedal na natalo ko na. Tapos natalo ako sa kanya."
The Davao del Norte native blamed the loss to immaturity.
"At the time 'yung mindset mo ba as a boxer that time, bata ka pa . . . Di ko lang sinasabi sa coach, pero alam ko at pinagsisisihan ko 'yon," he acknowledged.
Now that he was tapped once again by the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines, the sport's national governing body, to don the national colors for the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in June in Paris.
If he qualifies for Tokyo, the 32-year-old Suarez promised to go all out for his final hurrah.
"Kung ipagkaloob ng Panginoon na makapasok, hindi ko na bibitawan ito. Kasi sayang 'yung mga pagkakataon. Andaming pinaghirapan mo, madaming ring nagtitiwala sa'yo, tapos hindi mo magawa ang best. So dapat gawin ko na ang best para makuha ang gold na minimithi ko," he said.
But first, he has an opponent to beat in the pros this Saturday.
Suarez will be gunning for his fifth straight victory when he takes on Jon Jon Estrada on Saturday in Paniqui town, Tarlac.
Suarez remains unbeaten in 4 fights, all of which he finished by knockout. However, he takes on a more experienced fighter in Estrada who has a record of 11-7 with 10 KOs.
"Matibay siya. Wala pa siyang laban na bumagsak siya. Pero pinaghandaan namin ang laban na to," he said.
After the fight this weekend, Suarez will undergo testing and quarantine before joining the national boxing team in their bubble training in Calamba city, Laguna.