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MVP always ready for country

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
Wed, 29 Jan 2020


ABAP Chairman Manny V. Pangilinan.

ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson was on the line the other day wondering how Manila could’ve lost the chance to host the relocated Asia/Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament. The competition was originally set on Feb. 3-14 in Wuhan but because of the coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese city, the IOC Boxing Task Force decided to move it to Amman, Jordan, on March 3-11.

When Wuhan option was withdrawn, several countries offered to take over. It was rumored that Thailand and India reached out to the Task Force. ABAP made an offer, backed by POC, PSC, IOC member Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski and Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion. The Task Force is headed by Federation Internationale de Gymnastique president Morinari Watanabe who was recently in Manila for the Southeast Asian Games.

“I’m speculating that Amman had an earlier bid,” said Picson. “It’s possible China and Jordan were the finalists in the first bidding. So I assume Jordan had already passed protocols. Amman hosted the Asian men’s championships in 2013 and I remember I was detained for five hours in the police station after a taxi driver passed fake Jordanian dollars to me. It was a Friday and I was on my way to a money changer when my taxi driver told me the money shops were closed and he had 3,000 US dollars worth of Jordanian currency I could change. So I changed $100 US dollars for about 70 or 80 Jordanian dollars. I used the money to pay for something and I was held for using counterfeit money. It was quite an experience.”

Picson said the effort to make a last-minute bid couldn’t have been possible without ABAP chairman Manny V. Pangilinan’s support. When the Task Force announced it would relocate the tournament, ABAP president Ricky Vargas went to MVP to ask if Manila could make an offer. “Boss MVP had no second thoughts and immediately said ‘Go for it,’” recounted Picson. “If it’s for the country, Boss MVP will never back down. He was gung-ho from the start and assured we would be able to mobilize all the resources available to make a successful hosting.”

After the Task Force awarded the hosting rights to Amman, MVP issued a statement reaffirming his support for the country’s drive to qualify athletes for the Olympics and thanking the Task Force for considering the Philippines’ bid. That kind of leadership, sportsmanship and commitment is why MVP is in a class of his own.

As for the coming qualifiers, Picson said ABAP will finalize the Philippine lineup anytime now. “We’ve got front-runners but nothing is final at the moment,” he said. The leading candidates are Carlo Paalam and Rogen Ladon at 52 kg, Ian Clark Bautista at 57, James Palicte at 63 and Eumir Marcial at 75 in the men’s division and Irish Magno at 51, Nesthy Petecio at 57, Riza Pasuit at 60 and former wushu standout Hergie Bacyadan at 69. Lightheavyweight John Marvin is out of commission as his hand is still in a cast while welterweight Marjon Pianar will need more exposure. Lightweight Charly Suarez initially thought of going for the 57 spot but later decided to just try his luck at the world qualifiers in Paris in May if Bautista falls short in Amman. Suarez, a pro, is entitled to receive a monthly salary of P40,000 from PSC after striking gold at the recent SEA Games but must remain in the ABAP pool to earn it. Five-time SEA Games gold medalist Josie Gabuco is a natural lightflyweight and her division is excluded in the Olympics.

The weight categories are different in the Olympics and SEA Games. In the Olympics, the divisions were slashed from 10 to eight for men and increased from three to five for women. The Olympic men’s divisions are flyweight (52), featherweight (57), lightweight (63), welterweight (69), middleweight (75), lightheavyweight (81), heavyweight (91) and superheavyweight (+91). In the last SEA Games, the men’s divisions were lightflyweight (46-49), flyweight (52), bantamweight (56), lightweight (60), lightwelterweight (64), welterweight (69), middleweight (75) and lightheavyweight (81). For women, the Olympic divisions are flyweight (51), featherweight (57), lightweight (60), welterweight (69) and middleweight (75). In the SEA Games, the divisions were lightflyweight (48), flyweight (51), bantamweight (54), featherweight (57) and lightweight (60).

In the Olympics, six slots are reserved for Asia and Oceania in the 52, 57 and 63 classes, five in the 69, 75 and 81 and four in the 91 and +91 for men. For women, six slots will be available in the 51, 57 and 60 classes and four in 75. Additionally, four or five slots will be awarded for 52, 57, 63, 69 and 75, three or four in 81 and three in 91 and +91 for men through the world qualifiers on a random country basis. For women, five or six will be allocated in 51, three or four in 57, 60 and 69 and three in 75 through the Paris competition.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.

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