As their teammates focus on winning a lowly regional competition, two other members of the national boxing squad are deep in training for an event whose level of play is just a shade below the Olympics.
Light-flyweight Rogen Ladon and fly Dannel Maamo are currently in China alongside six other standouts of the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP).
Ladon and Maamo are going to be dispatched by the ABAP to the world championships in Europe, set Aug. 25 to Sept. 3 in the German port city of Hamburg.
Just about the same time Ladon and Maamo are packing their bags, light-fly Carlo Paalam, fly Ian Clark Bautista, bantam Mario Fernandez, light-welter Charly Suarez, middle Eumir Felix Marcial and Fil-British light-heavy John Marvin would be in the thick of the action in the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Marcial was supposed to join Ladon and Maamo after earning his ticket during the Asian championships last April but he was asked to fight instead in the SEAG as the country is out to defend the overall title in the sport.
Ladon is the most pressured among the two as he is out to duplicate or even surpass his bronze medal finish two years ago in Doha, Qatar.
After being eliminated in the preliminaries in the 2016 Rio Olympics, Ladon has vowed to make up for his forgettable Olympic stint by going all the way to the podium anew in Hamburg.
Maamo is a newbie in major meets like the worlds but his coaches believe the puncher from Cagayan de Oro has the talent and the determination to make heads turn.
Ladon, 23, and Maamo, 20, are going to get pointers from national coaches Nolito Velasco and Ronald Chavez when the bell rings at the 4,600-seat SportHalle.
The ABAP is backing the SEAG-bound boxers as well as Ladon and Maamo in Germany in partnership with the Philippine Sports Commission, which has been truly supportive of the national athletes’ quest for recognition in the international arena.