By Jerome Lagunzad
The country’s top boxers all looked primed up for next month’s Asian Games.
A pair of local boxing contingents supported by the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines made the country proud as they took home four golds in two international tournaments in Asia.
Cagayan de Oro pride Carlo Paalam, 20, a bronze medalist in the 2016 World Youth Championships in Russia, proved unstoppable on his way to the light flyweight gold medal in tough First Thailand International Boxing Tournament (formerly known as the King’s Cup) held last June 28 to July 5.
The Nationals, under the tutelage of elite men’s head coach Ronald Chavez, also came up with a silver and two bronze medals to finish second alongside Thailand-B in the team standings after overall champion Mongolia.
Lightweight James Palicte accounted for the silver medal after losing to hometown bet Anu Seetep in the final while flyweight Marvin Tabamo and light welterweight Sugar Ray Ocana settled for bronze medals in the Thai meet.
Another PH team made a productive showing in the Kaplori Cup held at the Manado City in the island of North Sulawesi in Indonesia, taking home three golds, a silver and two bronze medals.
Under the guidance of women’s head coach Nolito Velasco, 2012 world champion Josie Gabuco and 2014 world championships silver medalist Nesthy Petecio topped the light flyweight and bantamweight categories, respectively.
Meanwhile, Rio de Janeiro Olympics veteran Rogen Ladon suffered a split decision loss against Japanese rival Ryusei Baba and settled for the silver medal in the men’s flyweight. Women’s flyweight Irish Magno and light welterweight Ronald Chavez Jr. bagged a pair of bronze medals.
“I am very happy for our boxers. This is the fruit of all their sacrifice and dedication. Hopefuly it translates to victory in the Asian Games in August,” said Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas, the con-current ABAP chief.
The recent tourneys were the culmination of several international exposures for top local boxers that started early this year which saw them make stops in India, Kazakhstan, Poland and Russia. They also had training stints in China, Thailand and England.