US, Cuba training eyed for Filipino boxers in preparation for Olympic qualifying tournaments


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US, Cuba training eyed for Filipino boxers in preparation for Olympic qualifying tournaments. THE Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (Abap) is planning to send the national boxers for training in United States or Cuba as they prepare for the qualifiers for the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.

Abap executive director Ed Picson said they are looking at quality training outside the country, but at the same time, avoid being scouted by the opposition.

“Initially, nag-usap usap kami ng mga senior coaches the other day and isa sa mga linatag sa kanila is we can go to countries wherein hindi tayo mamanmanan,” said Picson.

“Sa USA kasi at sa Cuba, sa dami ng mga boxing gym at boxing talent, we’ve done that before in 2010, walang nakakaalam halos except the Philippine press. Sa international community, hindi nila alam,” said Picson.

The Filipino pugs are slated to compete in several Olympic qualifiers including the Asia-Oceania qualifying event in March in China and the Women’s World Boxing Championship in May in Kazakhstan.

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Boxing has been a perennial source of medals for the Philippines in the Olympics with Anthony Villanueva (1964) and Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco (1996) winning silver medals.

Cuban coach Raul Liranza helped Velasco capture a silver medal in the Atlanta Olympics, the Filipino light flyweight bowing to Bulgaria’s Daniel Petrov in the gold medal bout.

So far, no Filipino boxer has qualified for the Olympics, with light flyweight Rogen Ladon winning bronze in the World Championship. The gold and silver medalists qualified for Rio.

Picson said the United States and Cuba offer an abundance of quality amateur fighters who can be sparmates for the Filipino fighters.

“Ang maganda sa Amerika, marami kang makakalaban na hindi pipitsugin,” said Picson.

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