The Philippine boxing team is targeting the highest honors in the ongoing 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta Indonesia. The Asiad boxing competition will be held from August 24 to September 1 at the Jakarta International Expo Hall.
“Lagi naman tayo may gold nito lang huli wala (We always win the gold in boxing [recently]except in the last edition),” said Philippine boxing team head coach Nolito “Boy” Velasco, 56, elder brother of former Olympians Monsueto and Roel Velasco.
Velasco was referring to gold medalists Violito Payla and Joan Tipon in Doha Games 2006 and Rey Saludar in Guangzhou Games 2010.
Velasco said that his wards are in tip-top condition and raring to fight.
“I like their preparation and they are eager to show what they’ve got,” Velasco told The Manila Times in Filipino in a phone interview. “Felix missed the last Asian Games because of injury that is why he’s really itching to fight, he also wants to erase the memories of his bad fights.”
The PH boxing team is composed of Rogen Ladon (52 kgs), Eumir Felix Marcial (75 kgs) and Mario Fernandez (56 kgs) along with Carlo Paalam (49 kgs), James Palicte (60 kgs), Joel Bacho (69 kgs), Irish Magno (51 kgs) and Nesthy Petecio (57 kgs).
In the 2014 Asiad in Incheon, South Korea, the Philippine team won a silver medal courtesy of Charly Suarez (men’s lightweight) plus three bronze medals courtesy of Mark Barriga (light flyweight), Mario Fernandez (bantamweight) and Wilfredo Lopez (middleweight).
Velasco is confident of the team’s chances of winning the gold this year.
“We have a good leadership in our association and all are working hard,” said Velasco, referring to the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) headed by Ricky Vargas who is also the Philippine Olympic Committee president.
ABAP Executive Director Ed Picson shared the same outlook.
“Everyone is optimistic but guarded,” said Picson through a text message. “Our boxers trained hard, had successful international campaigns and training camp but it will all boil down to the draw, the breaks and composure. Hopefully our boxers can come home with some bling for our countrymen.”
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