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ABAP sending best pugs to Worlds

The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) plans to finalize its men’s lineup for the AIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in the next two weeks as it aims to produce more qualifiers for the 2016 Rio Olympics in August.

Head Coach Boy Velasco said ABAP officials wanted a strong and competitive contingent as nations from around the globe are also scrambling for berths in one of the last two qualifying events for the Games.

“Mabigat itong tournament na ito kasi maraming kasali, pero mas malaki din ang chance natin na mag-qualify,” said Velasco.

The said world qualifying is set on June 7 to 19 in Baku, Azerbaijan where the top five fighters from each weight division will advance to Rio.

So far, the country has light flyweight Rogen Ladon and lightweight Charly Suarez in the Olympic lineup after earning berths at the Asia Oceania Olympic Qualifying Event in Qian’an, China last March.

“Ang kagandahan din sa tournament, halos yung malalakas, nag-qualify na. Pero siyempre hindi rin naman natin pwedeng maliitin yung mga laban dahil lahat tayo gustong mag-qualify,” said Velasco.

So far, the team is training extensively in Baguio where they are focusing on strengthening their endurance and firing up their speed.

Their women’s counterparts, meanwhile, are currently in Astana, Kazakhstan for their own Olympic qualifying.

Only Nesthy Petecio is battling for an Olympic berth, while Josie Gabuco and Irish Magno are competing in the non-Olympic weight categories.