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No Christmas break for boxers seeking Tokyo Games berths

BY NICK GIONGCO

CLARKFIELD, Pampanga – The triumphant boxing squad, which took seven gold medals in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, will have only a week of rest before reporting back to training camp.

They’re not even spending Christmas and New Year with their loved ones.

“They will return on Dec. 17 and they start training the next day,” said Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) secretary general Ed Picson, noting the only break they’re getting will be on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

Why the rush?

TOO CLASSY: Eumir Marcial looks menacingly at his rival Vietnamese Manh Cuong Nguyen whom he knocked down with a whistling left to the kisser in just 71 seconds of their middleweight final Monday night. (Ali Vicoy)

TOO CLASSY: Eumir Marcial looks menacingly at his rival Vietnamese Manh Cuong Nguyen whom he knocked down with a whistling left to the kisser in just 71 seconds of their middleweight final Monday night. (Ali Vicoy)

The ABAP has a point.

The qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will take place in less than two months from now.

The Chinese city of Wuhan has been tasked to stage the Olympic qualifying from Feb. 3-14 and Picson reminds everyone that it’s just around the corner.

“We have six weeks to get ready for that,” said Picson, stressing that the SEAG stint will somehow help the fighters ease back into training mode.

The SEAG gold medalists include light-flyweight Carlo Paalam, fly Rogen Ladon, lightweight Charly Suarez, light- welter James Palicte and middle Eumir Marcial in the men’s while light-fly Josie Gabuco and feather Nesthy Petecio in the women’s.

Those who settled for silver were welter Marlon Pianar in the men’s and fly Irish Magno and lightweight Riza Pasuit in the women’s while the bronze medalists were bantams Aira Villegas and Ian Clark Bautista.

Only Fil-British light-heavy entry John Marvin failed to medal after suffering a stunning loss in the opener.

The ABAP is going all-out in Wuhan, saying making the grade early will enable the boxers to train early.

ABAP president Ricky Vargas wants to give the early qualifiers the best buildup for the Olympics scheduled July 24 until Aug. 9.

The Wuhan qualifiers is one of four continental events on tap with Dakar in Senegal hosting the Africa qualifiers, London (Europe) and Buenos Aires (Americas). Those who don’t make it during the qualifiers will get their last chance in the World Qualifier taking place in Paris from May 13-24.

“Our focus is on qualifying early,” said Picson.

 

 

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