HAMBURG, Germany – Filipino light-flyweight Rogen Ladon is in bad company in the 2017 AIBA World Championships that gets going Friday at the Sporthalle.
Bunched with him in the star-studded 49 kg division are familiar names, those with whom Ladon had the experience of losing to.
On top of the heap are Rio Olympics gold medalist Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan and silver medalist Yuberjen Martinez of Colombia, 2015 world championships champion Joahnys Argilagos of Cuba and runnerup Vasilii Egorov of Russia.
Gankyuhag Gan-Erdene of Mongolia, who has beaten Ladon twice this year, is also entered in the powerhouse class.
But Ladon, the 2015 world championships bronze medal winner, swears they are all almost on equal footing and that conditioning will play a pivotal role in determining who ends up making it to the podium.
“Kami-kami rin na magkaka-kilala ang nagkikita-kita pero sa kundisyunan na lang magkakatalo ‘yan,” said Ladon on Wednesday, barely 24 hours after arriving here from Manila via Istanbul.
Ladon dropped a decision to Dusmatov during an AIBA Pro slugfest and fell to Martinez during the preliminaries of the Rio Games. Egorov, meanwhile, dealt Ladon a defeat in the semifinals of the 2015 worlds in Qatar.
Like Ladon, his coaches, Nolito Velasco and Ronald Chavez, are undaunted, saying the Bago City native, is hell-bent in making a splash in the nine-day slugfest that drew the participation of 280 fighters, including 18 medalists from Rio.
“Handa si Rogen. Lalaban yan ng husto,” said Velasco.
Chavez is also convinced that Ladon will stand his ground and earn his opponents’ respect.
“Determinadong manalo at mag-uwi ng medalya,” said Chavez.