MEMBERS of the Philippine boxing team seeing action in tournaments this year, including the Tokyo Olympics, are currently deep in training in Thailand and set for ramped-up preparation in the coming months.
Speaking at the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday, Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) Secretary-General Ed Picson said their group has lined up a schedule that will see the national athletes extend their training abroad, even all the way to the Olympics for those who have qualified.
“Even before they left for Thailand last month, we presented them this scenario that they may not be back in the country until after the Tokyo Games. There’s this possibility. And they understood,” said Mr. Picson.
“We’ve talked about it that their overseas training might be extended all the way up to the Olympics,” he added.
Three Olympic-bound athletes are in Thailand right now training, namely: Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio, and Carlo Paalam.
Another qualified boxer, Eumir Felix Marcial, is in the United States training under famed boxing coach Freddie Roach. He turned professional last year.
While he is separated from the team right now, Mr. Marcial has the support of ABAP, Mr. Picson said, and is set to be joined by a Filipino coach as he trains in Los Angeles.
But the ABAP official expressed hope that Mr. Marcial eventually gets to train in Thailand and join the rest of the team.
“The training in Thailand will be an Olympic style training and not a professional style. So, it might be better for Eumir to join the rest of the team in Thailand,” said Mr. Picson.
Aside from the three Tokyo-bound boxers, seven other members of the national team plus five coaches led by Nolito Velasco are in Thailand as part of the preparations as well for the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games in November.
Mr. Picson said from Thailand, the Filipino boxers are scheduled to compete in the Asian Championships set to start on May 21 in New Delhi. And if the coronavirus situation allows, they might stay longer in the Indian capital to train.
For being able to send four athletes in the rescheduled Olympic Games this year, ABAP was accorded the National Sports Association for 2020 award in the recent PSA Awards Night. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo