PH boxers hope to reap benefits of Thailand camp in SEA Games

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 03 2022 04:01 PM

The Philippine boxing team after the Thailand Open. Handout photo.
The Philippine boxing team after the Thailand Open. Handout photo.

MANILA, Philippines -- Being scouted by the opposition is not a great cause for concern for the Philippine boxing team, who have set up their training camp in Thailand ahead of the 31st Southeast Asian Games.

Ed Picson, president of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP), said that what's crucial is that the Filipino boxers are getting the kind of training they need for the biennial event.

The SEA Games will be held on May 12 to 23 in Hanoi, Vietnam, with the Philippines aiming to defend the overall championship.

According to Picson, he has discussed the matter with ABAP coaches, led by Australian mentor Don Abnett, and they see little reason to worry about sharing camp with the Thais who remain the biggest threat to the Filipinos in the SEA Games.

"If they can see us, we can see them," Picson reasoned out during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum where he was joined by ABAP secretary-general Marcus Manalo on Tuesday.

"We looked at the cost and benefit of it. Ano ang mawawala, and ano ang benefit? Besides, the Vietnamese boxers are also there training," he pointed out.

"The main factor why we decided to stay there is the quality of training. And at the end of the day, wala ka na din naman itatago," said Manalo, for his part. "It's how you execute in the ring."

Picson said they took the offer of the Thai boxing association for the Philippine squad to train there for the Thailand Open where Rogen Ladon won the flyweight gold last month.

"The Thais have been very accommodating and generous. Isang request lang, binibigay nila agad," he revealed.

The Filipino boxers will fly straight to Hanoi from Bangkok on May 13. The boxing competitions in the SEA Games, where the Filipinos will try to defend the overall title after winning seven gold, three silver and two bronze medals in 2019 in Manila, will take place on May 15 to 22.

Leading the squad are Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Nesthy Petecio (women's 60kg) and bronze medalist Eumir Marcial (men's 75kg).

Olympian Irish Magno will vie in the 51kg class, while Ladon will compete at 49 kg. The other members of the team are Ian Clark Bautista (57kg), James Palicte (63kg) and Marjon Pianar (69kg) in the men's division and Josie Gabuco (48kg), Riza Pasuit (57kg) and Hergie Bacyadan (75kg) in the women's.

Picson did not issue any medal forecast, although he said they are hopeful of their chances.

"The expectations for (Philippine) boxing have always been high in the SEA Games. But we're cautiously optimistic. We're proceeding with a lot of enthusiasm and focus," he said.