May 24, 2024

■  Ofelia C. Empian 

The Philippine boxing team’s training is in full swing as the group is gearing up for the first world qualification tournament for the Paris Olympics set on Feb. 29 to March 13 at Busto Arsizio, Italy.

Cordilleran athletes Claudine Veloso, who is based in La Trinidad, Benguet, and Kalinga’s Hergie Bacyadan were seen training for the upcoming event in their posting on social media while shadow boxing in a gym at Benidorm, Spain.

ONWARDS PARIS OLYMPICS — Claudine Veloso of the Philippine Boxing Team (right) shared updates from her social media regarding the team’s ongoing training sessions for the upcoming Paris Olympic qualifiers on Feb. 29 to March 13 in Busto Arsizio, Italy and on May 23 to June 3 in Bangkok, Thailand. Veloso is seen here with Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Nesthy Petecio. — Claudine Veloso FB photo

Recently, the national boxing squad won four gold medals in the Boxam Elite Tournament in Spain courtesy of Bacyadan, University of Baguio scholars Nesthy Petecio, Aira Villegas, and Rogen Ladon.

Secretary-General Marcus Jarwin Manalo of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP), which is the national sports association for boxing, said the group’s win showed their readiness for the world qualifiers. 

“This is not yet the Olympic qualifiers but at least we know we’re taking good steps into that direction,” Manalo said in his Facebook post.

Bacyadan earned a 5-0 shutout triumph over Kazakhstan’s Yerzhan Gulsaya to lord over the women’s 75-kg category.

Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Petecio outscored Chinese Taipei’s Huang Hsiao-Wen in a 4-1 split decision in the women’s 57-kg. division.

Villegas, meanwhile, labored hard with her bout against Kazakhstan’s Kyzaibay Nazym ending in her favor, 3-2, in the women’s 50-kg. class.

Also, former Olympian Ladon won gold by default in the men’s 51-kg over Hungarian Istvan Szaka.

Ladon overpowered Mexican Ari Bonilla in the semis with a close 3-2 split decision and outclassed Scott Richards of Wales with a 3-2 decision in the quarterfinals.

Meanwhile, Carlo Paalam (men’s 57-kg.), Mark Ashley Fajardo (men’s 63.5-kg.), Ronald Chavez Jr. (men’s 71-kg.), and Riza Pasuit (women’s 60-kg.) all suffered exits in the preliminaries.

Despite the mixed results, Manalo is hopeful for the national team’s performance in its upcoming fights.

Earlier the team also spent time training in Australia in preparation for the Boxam Elite Tournament and the two Olympic qualifiers which includes the May 23 to June 3 qualifier in Bangkok, Thailand.