The road to the gold medal for Filipino boxing hopeful Rogen Ladon in the 2016 Rio Olympics is littered with landmines.
While Ladon’s handlers are hoping that the 22-year-old doesn’t end up getting paired with the light-flyweight division’s (49 kg) top guns, the weight class remains tough as everyone entered went through the qualifying process.
However, Ladon will have to go through the proverbial eye of the needle to make it all the way to the top.
Traditional powerhouse countries Cuba, Russia and Kazakhstan have solid bets in the division.
Representing Cuba is Joahnny Argilagos, while Russia will field Vasily Egorov and Birzhan Zhakypov will be Kazakhstan’s aspirant.
According to an Associated Press medal forecast, Egorov will win the gold and Paddy Barnes of Ireland will settle for silver and Argilagos and Zhakypov will get bronzes.
Ladon earned a trip to Rio at the last minute after settling for runnerup honors in the Olympic qualifying last April in China.
The previous year, Ladon was busy campaigning for a ticket to Rio but came up short in the world amateur championships in Qatar and the Asian championships in Bangkok.
In the Qatar worlds, Ladon was beaten in the semifinals by Egorov on a razor-thin decision.
Zhakypov is a warhorse and is best remembered as having eliminated Filipino Mark Anthony Barriga in the 2012 London Olympics.
Others worth watching in the division are Nico Hernandez of the US and Manuel Cappai of Italy.