Boxing: Top-flight Asian tilt to be scrapped as India battles COVID, says PH exec

Manolo Pedralvez

Posted at Apr 25 2021 06:54 AM

Due the surging COVID-19 cases in India, the Asian Boxing Confederation is set to scrap the Asian Elite Men and Women Boxing Championships originally scheduled from May 21 to 31 in the Indian capital of New Delhi, one of the virus hotbeds in the country, according to a top official of the country’s governing body for the sport.

“More or less yes, (the event in India is off),” Ed Picson, the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines secretary-general, said Saturday of the tournament that was supposed to draw boxers from 32 countries and the first ring competition for Asia in 2021.

India has seen an alarming rise in infections, tallying a world record of 345,147 new cases and 2,621 deaths last Friday, based on the figures released by its Ministry of Health. New Delhi alone has had 956,000 cases, of which 852,000 have recovered, and with 13,193 fatalities.

“The Asian Boxing Confederation, of which I am a member, is looking at alternative host cities for the tournament," Picson said. “We will be looking at either Dubai or Bahrain. We will know in a few days.”

Majority of the national boxers are currently training in Thailand, and the Asian meet was meant as a tuneup for the country’s Olympic boxing qualifiers Eumir Felix Marcial, Carlo Paalam, Nesthy Petecio and Irish Magno.

It would also have served as the first legitimate warmup event for the other national fighters gearing for the 31st Vietnam Southeast Asian Games set November 21 to December 2 in the capital city of Hanoi. 

Paalam, Petecio and Magno are part of the national contingent training in Bangkok, while US-based Marcial is back in his hometown of Zamboanga City after arriving recently from Los Angeles to visit his sick father, Eulalio.

“Eumir wants to see his father in Zamboanga first. Afterwards, we are hoping he can join the team in Thailand for training,” Picson said. 

Also working out in the Thai capital are Rio Olympic Games veteran Rogen Ladon, Junmilardo Ogayre, Ian Clark Bautista, Jaime Palicte, Marjon Pianar, Aira Villegas and Riza Pasulit plus coaches Nolito Velasco, Ronald Chavez, Reynaldo Galido, Elmer Pamisa and Australian consultant Don Abnett.

Picson said the Philippines squad has been in Bangkok since April 10 after spending 10 days in the resort island of Ko Samui with the Thai boxing squad.

The original plan was for the national boxers to remain in New Delhi following the Asian slugfest to train before the Olympic qualifiers would go straight to the Olympic Games in the Japanese capital of Tokyo in July, according to Picson.

But this plan had to be revised due to the worsening pandemic in India, Picson said, with the national boxers to remain in their Thailand training camp until a new venue and date for the Asian boxing tournament is settled. 

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