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PH Eyes Redemption, Confirmation in SEAG Boxing

By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Tue, 03 Dec 2019

Eumir Felix Marcial (L) spearheads the PHL campaign.

The Philippines is looking both at redemption and confirmation in the SEA Games boxing competitions which start with preliminary bouts Wednesday afternoon, December 4 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

Redemption, for the sorry losses particularly the men's team incurred that led to traditional rival Thailand regaining the boxing championship in the last SEA Games in Malaysia where women's boxing was not allowed by the host.

Confirmation, for the overall championship in boxing that the country won in the 2015 games in Singapore where competition in both the men's and distaff side was previously held.

Since the 2005 Games held in Manila where Pinoy boxers also ruled, that was the only other time that the Philippines bested Thailand for the overall championship in boxing, winning a total of eight gold medals, four each from the men's and women's squads. Thailand in fact only placed third as Vietnam led by its women boxers took runner up honors in Singapore.

In the current SEAG, the ABAP is aiming not only to duplicate but even top that feat achieved in Singapore four years ago as it fields the strongest possible teams for both the men's and women's boxing competitions.

Leading the men's team is recent world boxing championship silver medalist Felix Eumir Marcial who will be gunning for his third straight gold, his second at middleweight class after ruling the welterweight in the 2015 Singapore SEAG.

Also returning are Fil British John Marvin who won the light heavyweight gold in Malaysia, lightweight Charly Suarez, bantamweight Ian Clark Bautista, flyweight Rogen Ladon and light flyweight Carlo Paalam. Other members of the team are junior welterweight James Palicte and welterweight Joel Bacho.

The women's squad will be bannered by recent world championship featherweight gold medalist Nesthy Petecio who ironically will be gunning for her first gold in the regional meet. Also back is former world championship winner Josie Gabuco who is aiming for her fifth straight gold at light flyweight and so are previous gold winner Irish Magno and medalists Aira Villegas and Rita Pasuit who will be campaigning at flyweight, bantamweight and lightweight respectively.

Without the women's team, the country just won two golds, one silver and two bronzes in the last SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, just one silver medal behind Thailand. It was the competition where the smallest number of medals, just 24 in all was awarded in boxing.

Marcial and Marvin delivered the golds after Mario Fernandez lost to his Thai rival Chatchai Butdee and settled for the silver in the finals. Both Suarez and Bautista lost in the semis and settled for the bronze medals. Paalam was ousted in the quarters by the host bet Muhammad Redzuan who eventually also won the gold.

Suarez has to temporarily shelve his budding pro career for the opportunity to redeem himself from that forgettable last stint and to go for his third gold and serve the host country's cause in the ongoing Games.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.

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