RIO DE JANEIRO – Luck went on the side of Filipino boxer Rogen Ladon during the official draw of the boxing competitions in the Rio Olympics.
The 22-year-old Ladon, ranked No. 5 in the light-flyweight division, drew a bye along with the other seeds, led by the top favorite from Cuba, reigning world champion Joahnys Argilagos.
There are only 22 entries in the 49 kg class, and with the bye, it means Ladon must only win two bouts to get to the semis and assure himself of a bronze and break the 20-year Olympic medal drought for the Philippines.
“Naka-bye tayo sa first round. So, Brazil or Colombia ang unang laban ni Ladon.,” said Philippine boxing team head coach Nolito Velasco.
The Bago City-native Ladon will see action on August 8 either against Yurberjen Herney Martinez of Colombia or Patrick Lourenco of the host country.
Light-flyweight Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco won the last Olympic medal for the Philippines, a silver during the boxing event of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
“Maganda na din ang draw ni Ladon,” said Velasco. “At kung makakalaban man natin yung Cuba, sa semis na. May medal by that time.”
Meantime the country other boxing competitor Charly Suarez will face reigning European champion Joseph Cordina on Aug. 6.
The 27-year-old Suarez would need three wins to get to the semis to assure himself of a medal in his first –ever Olympic campaign.
Cordina, who is three years younger, will test Suarez at 6 p.m. Saturday or barely 24 hours after the opening ceremony.
Because the opening may finish late at night, Suarez has decided to skip the opening ceremony so he could save his energy for the fight the day after.
If Suarez moves on, he may have to deal with Cuban top seed Jorge Lazaro Alvarez in the semifinals of the 60 kg division.
“Maganda na din makalaban yung magaling para pag nalusutan mo, mas maganda na chance mo. Nasa boxer na yan. Kung sino ang mas preparaado, yun ang lalabasan ng galing,” said Velasco.