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Maamo out to tame Botswanan opponent

HAMBURG, Germany – As a Cuban top seed lurks behind, flyweight Dannel Maamo is focused on hurdling his first-round foe from Botswana when he makes his debut Saturday in the AIBA World Championship.

During the official draw Thursday at the Rathaus (Town Hall), a Neo-Renaissance building in the heart of this ancient maritime city, Maamo was paired with Mahomed Otukile.

National coach Nolito ‘Boy’ Velasco was in attendance for the Philippines while chief assistant Ronald Chavez presided over the training of Maamo and light-fly Rogen Ladon while the 17th worlds was formally opened by AIBA president Ching Kuo Wu.

Maamo’s date with Otukile, runnerup during the Africa qualifiers last June in the Congo, happens at 2pm (8pm in Manila).

Ladon, seeded fifth here, will face the winner of the match between Kazakhstan’s Zhomart Yerzhan and Michael Tello of Guatemala.

Maamo and Ladon appeared cool, calm and collected when briefed by Velasco at the lobby of the Ibis Hotel on Amsinckstraße.

“Ang isipin nyo ‘yung unang laban at hindi ‘yung kung sino ang mga posibleng makalaban,” said Velasco. “Isa-isa lang.”

Philippine Sports Commission chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez, whose agency is throwing its all-out support to the quest of winning medals, likewise reminded them not to look too far ahead.

“Focus muna tayo sa unang kalaban before we start worrying about the next one,” said Ramirez from Manila.

Even high-ranking boxing official Ed Picson reminded Ladon and Maamo to concentrate on the task at hand.

“One fight at a time,” Picson said from Kuala Lumpur where he presided over the performance of the boxing squad taking part in the 29th Southeast Asian Games.

If Maamo tames Otukile, he will square off with Yosvany Veitia, the 2015 worlds silver medalist at fly and 2013 bronze medal winner at light-fly, in the round-of-16.