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The hunt for slots to the 2017 world championships in Germany begins in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP) is in the process of forming a solid squad.
The slugfest in Tashkent will serve as the only qualifier for Asian fighters to the world championships that will be hosted by Hamburg from Aug. 25 to Sept. 4.
The Asian qualifying takes place from April 30 to May 7 and ABAP executive director Ed Picson insists that while the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia appears to be tops on the priority of the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee, the worlds in Germany is far more significant.
“That’s the world championships,” said Picson yesterday, noting that winning the gold in the SEAG is a lot easier than making it to quarterfinals in Germany.
In the history of the world championships, no Filipino fighter has brought home a gold medal with Roel Velasco and Harry Tanamor, both light-flys, settling for silvers in 1997 (Budapest) and 2007 (Chicago), respectively.
The current crop of medal hopefuls include Rio Olympians Rpgen Ladon (light-fly) and Charly Suarez (lightweight), fly ian Clark Bautista, bantam Mario Fernandez and welter Felix Eumir Marcial.
Another rising star is Carlo Paalam, another light-fly, who bagged the bronze in the World Youth last year.
“We will come up with a strong team in the SEA Games and in the world championships. These are two most important events of the year,” said Picson.
The top six in each weight class will get slots to the worlds.