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Butch bats for boxers

Sport can deliver medal – PSC chief.

Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez is pinning his hopes on boxing in Rio as the Philippines bids to put an end to A 20-year medal drought in the Olympic Games.

“I am looking at boxing as the sport that can produce (a medal),” Ramierz said yesterday less than a week before the Rio Games get off the ground.

“Boxing has the history, the track record but it’s going to be tough. The road to the medal podium will be difficult,” said Ramirez, who remains upbeat that light-flyweight Rogen Ladon (49 kg) and lightweight Charly Suarez (60 kg) will rise to the occasion.

Hostilities in the ring kick off on Aug. 6, the day after the opening ceremonies.

Onyok Velasco brought home the last Olympic medal – a silver – from Atlanta in 1996 as he wound up runnerup to Bulgarian Daniel Petrov Bujilov in the light-fly finals.

Of the nine Olympic medals won by the Philippines, five came from boxing. The others were bronzes by Cely Villanueva (1932 Los Angeles), Leopoldo Serantes (1988 Seoul) and Roel Velasco (1992 Barcelona), while the other silver belonged to the late Anthony Villanueva (1964 Tokyo).

The other Filipino medal hopefuls in Rio are Fil-Am hurdler Eric Cray, long jumper Marestella Torres-Sunang, golfer Miguel Tabuena, swimmers Jessie Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhaldi, taekwondo jin Kirstie Elaine Alora, table-tennis ace Ian Lariba and lifters Nestor Colonia and Hidilyn Diaz.

The two boxers set up camp in the US for several weeks before flying to Rio a few days ago.

Meanwhile, Ramirez bared that he will no longer leave for Rio “to attend to matters in the PSC.”

Before taking over the agency last month, Ramirez had made it known that he is not keen on flying to Brazil.

“The Philippine Olympic Committee is already there and they can handle the needs of the delegation,” said Ramirez.

“The athletes are in good hands with the POC there.”