Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines is looking at the silver lining of the world qualifiers’ cancellation, believing that it could bode well for the Filipino pugilists vying for a slot at the Tokyo Olympics.
ABAP Pres. Ricky Vargas expressed optimism with the possibility of having four boxers in the Games following the change made by the International Olympic Committee Boxing Task Force in the qualification process.
The Philippines already has middleweight sensation Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno for the Olympics, but former AIBA women’s world champion Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam could also head to Tokyo.
This is because the 53 slots supposed to be fought for in the qualifiers will now be determined by rankings — the best-ranked athlete not yet qualified per region and per weight category will be given an Olympic ticket, per the BTF.
“Maganda yan. Actually some of our boxers … are number one in Asia. Two of them. I think it’s Nesthy and Carlo Paalam,” he told Power & Play Saturday.
“Without the world qualifying, we should be able to qualify them.”
ABAP secretary general Ed Picson, who also guested in the online program, went on to explain how both Petecio and Paalam could go up in their respective ranks and earn the much-coveted chance to play in the Olympics.
“Kung equitably, sa Asia, halimbawa si Nesthy, Nesthy is number five. But ‘yung apat na nasa itaas niya, who are from either Africa or Asia, ngayon ‘yung mga taga-Asia na nandoon sa taas niya, qualified na eh. They’re no longer in the count. Ang hinahanap ngayon, sino ba’ng highest-ranked boxer after the qualification? That would be Nesthy Petecio,” he said.
“Same with Carlo Paalam. He is ranked number twelve, pero merong anim sa itaas niya na puro Asia — lahat ‘yun qualified na. So, umakyat kami sa number one.”
Aside from the Petecio and Paalam, ABAP is also looking at other fighters such as Ian Clark Bautista and John Marvin as those who could potentially expand the number of Philippine representatives in Tokyo.
“Ian Clark Bautista, he’s running third. Ngayon, ‘yung number one from Mongolia and number two from India, yun ang nakakaharang sa kanya. For whatever reason they withdraw, then Ian is up,” Picson said. “Also John Marvin, yung 81 [kilogram], also has an outside chance. It depends who goes above him who would somehow have a reason to not be able to make it, aakyat siya.
“Kasi ang problema wala ng world qualifying eh, so you cannot any more hope for anything and anyone else. ‘Yun na lang mga nasa taas. And ‘yung mga kumbaga talagang shoo-in are Nesthy and Carlo.”
Now, the ABAP and other federations await the official announcement of the Task Force regarding those who will qualify for the Olympics — scheduled on July 23-August 8 — in March.
At present, some boxers are busy training in the bubble mounted at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna–otherwise known as the Calambubble. They are bound for Thailand later this month for a training camp.