By Kevin San Pedro
EXCITEMENT and expectations arise as Puerto Princesa welcomes the Asian Junior Boxing Championships on Aug. 1 to 8.
This marks the first time the Philippines will be hosting a major international boxing tournament since the Asian Youth Championships in 2013.
Preparations are already underway as event officials are expecting as much as 20 to 30 countries participating in the tournament, with Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Butch Ramirez ordering the PSC to allocate both financial and human resources to aid the organizers.
The tournament was originally planned to be held in Davao, but Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez and Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron insisted to play host to the event in light of recent events in Mindanao.
Boxers aged 15 to 16 will compete for the titles, with the country’s top athletes already undergoing rigorous training under veteran Ronald Chavez, according to the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines Executive Director Ed Picson during an appearance at the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.
“Ito ‘yung grassroots talaga and we know for a fact that our counterparts in other countries put a lot of emphasis on this age group,” said Picson.
With the Southeast Asian Games and World Championships also in the works, the ABAP is working full time to accommodate all the tournaments.
“This is as important to us (as the two),” Picson said. “Kasi dito lahat manggagaling lahat yan, ‘di naman pwede nasa elite ka kaagad.”