THE Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines has started its earnest preparations for the Asian Games slated for Jakarta, Indonesia in August this year.
ABAP Secretary-General Ed Picson disclosed that boxing president Ricky Vargas has given the go-signal for several teams to embark on tune-up tournaments and training camps in the coming weeks to evaluate the boxers and to ensure they are in top competition form.
“We also launched a local “Battle of Champions”caravan-type tournament where national boxers match up against each other in exhibition fights in different local venues to get them used to competition conditions and also to assess their capabilities. The first leg was in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan last month,” said Picson.
This Saturday, January 27, six boxers will participate in the Indian Open, a 25-team tournament with 350 boxers.
ABAP’s Karina Picson was appointed by the Asian Boxing Confederation as tournament supervisor for the event to be held in the Indian capital of New Delhi.
On the same date, 8 boxers will fly to Bangkok, Thailand for a multi-nation, two-week training camp at an isolated and vast training center in the hills of Muaklek, a suburb 1.5 hours from Bangkok.
Fil-British boxer John Tupas-Marvin, who won the light-heavyweight (81 kg) gold in the SEA Games last year in Kuala Lumpur, arrived from London January 15 and has been training in the PSC-ABAP Training Center in Baguio before traveling with the team to the Thai camp.
On February 1, middleweight (75 kg) Eumir Felix Marcial, the other 2017 SEA Games gold medalist, will participate in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) preliminary round in Paris, France. He was conscripted by the Great Britain Lionhearts in the AIBA tournament which has 12 teams representing different countries.
WSB matches are fought in 5 rounds, in contrast to the 3-round fights in the regular AIBA tournaments.
All the WSB teams are mandated to have foreign boxers since not all countries have the financial capacity to put up their own teams. Two other Filipino boxers were drafted by the Lionhearts namely light-flyweight Carlo Paalam and bantamweight Mario Fernandez.
On February 11, another team will figure in the Asian Games Test Event in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Vargas said the efforts are being made with support from the Philippine Sports Commission.
Vargas said “we want no stone unturned in seeing to it that our boxers are primed not only for the Asian Games but all other competitions in the run-up to the Tokyo Summer Olympics. These form part of our long-range “Road to 2020” program developed with our coaches and sports science team”.