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3 PH pugs get final chance

The three Filipino boxers who will fight for berths in the Final World Olympic Qualifying tournament in Azerbaijan from June 14 to 26 are ready to rumble.

National coach Pat Gaspi told the Bulletin yesterday from Baguio City, where they have all been holed up the past few weeks that flyweight Ian Clark Bautista, bantam Mario Fernandez and welter Felix Eumir Marcial are right on target.

“They’ve been doing very well in training,” said Gaspi, nting that Nonito Donaire Sr., father of world super-bantamweight king Nonito, has been supervising over the preparations.

The Rio Games will be held from Aug. 5 to 21 and Gaspi believes that all three, and most probably light-welter Dennis Galvan, will make it to Brazil.

Galvan’s application is still being processed and his late inclusion was due to the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines plans to tap Manny Pacquiao as its entry in the weight class.

Although it looks as if securing slots to Rio is going to be easy, Gaspi warns that the opposition in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, would still be rock-solid.

The top five in their respective weight classes will gain Olympic slots and the boxer who lost to the eventual gold medal winner during the quarterfinals getting the fifth and last slot.

So far, light-fly Rogen Ladon and lightweight Charly Suarez have qualified but Gaspi maintains that those campaigning in Azerbaijan are all contenders.

Still, Gaspi insists that the Baku cast will be star-studded as “there are top fighters who haven’t qualified.”