December 9, 2022

Members of the Philippine boxing team are preparing for various international sporting games next year as they continue their high-altitude training in Baguio City.

Tokyo Olympians Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, Eumir Marcial, and Irish Magno resumed their training for the Southeast Asian Games set May next year.

Marcial said he will have a fight scheduled in the professional circuit in the first quarter of 2022.

“After the Olympics, I need to fulfill my role as a professional boxer. After which, I will return to the country to train for the SEA Games,” Marcial said.

After turning pro in 2020, the southpaw from Zamboanga City was successful in his first match, earning a unanimous decision against American Andrew Whitfield at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles, California in December that same year.

Paalam is also eyeing to strike gold in the SEAG slated in Hanoi, Vietnam and in the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) next year.

Petecio and Magno, on the other hand, are set to compete in the AIBA World Women’s Boxing Championships, which was moved from Dec. 6 to 19 this year to March next year.

Petecio is a defending AIBA champion where she is expected to face Sena Irie, the Japanese who dealt her the defeat in the finals at the Tokyo Olympics. She has been training alongside Magno, Josie Gabuco, Aira Villegas, and Riza Paswit in a bubble in Baguio.

Philippine women’s boxing team coach Rey Galido said the training of the five boxers will end on Dec. 17.

“We will be back by Jan. 10 and from there, we will train for the delayed AIBA,” Galido said.

Gabuco returns to the world championship hoping to add another medal to her chest.

Gabuco won the gold in 2012 in Qinhuangdao in China, the first female Filipino to do so. On top of that, she took the bronze in 2008 in Ningbo, Japan as a pinweight.

Gabuco aims for her sixth gold medal in the biennial meet, the most for any boxer, while Petecio, Marcial, and Paalam defend their titles in the featherweight, middleweight, and flyweight categories.

Members of the national boxing squad are also set to join the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China in September 2022. – Ofelia C. Empian