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Suarez ready for European champ

RIO DE JANEIRO – Boxer Charly Suarez relied on Youtube to get to know more of his opponent on opening day of the boxing competitions in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The Filipino lightweight who’s in his first Olympics faces Great Britain’s Joseph Cordina in the preliminary round of the lightweight division at the Riocentro Convention Center here.

The match takes place at 6 p.m. or 5 a.m. in Manila.

Most Filipinos will still be asleep when the 27-year-old Suarez kicks off his campaign to give the Philippines its first Olympic medal in 20 years.

Suarez, a devote Christian who has biblical passages printed on his bandana, said he hasn’t seen the 24-year-old Cordina fight in person.

“But I’ve seen him fight on Youtube. He’s a good boxer. He fights right and left. And he’s tall,” said the cocky Filipino boxer.

Cordina stands three inches taller than the five-foot-six Suarez, and is also three years younger. He is the reigning European champion at 60 kg.

Because Suarez is not taking Cordina lightly, he decided to skip the opening ceremony, always a memorable evening of songs and dances for athletes.

Filipino light-flyweight Rogen Ladon, who drew a bye in the first round and will not see action until Aug. 8, also decided to stay and give up the opening rites.

Ladon only needs to win two matches to assure himself of a bronze medal. He fights either a Brazilian or Colombian on Monday.

Suarez needs three wins to assure himself of a bronze.

The two boxers headed to the training venue with coach Boy Velasco as the rest of the Philippine delegation donned their native “barongs” and headed to the Maracana Stadium for the anticipated opening ceremony.

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