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Phl boxing on high alert


Philippine professional and amateur boxing will be on red alert the whole of 2023.

On the pro front, several Filipino fighters have already secured rights to shoot for world titles in the first few months.

Some are being pegged to take place in the first quarter with former world champion Marlon Tapales and Jade Bornea, both based in Los Angeles, possibly fighting on the same night or a week or two apart.

Then there’s four-division titleholder Nonito Donaire and rising Vincent Astrolabio, who are on the verge of being called to face off with separate opponents to vie for the soon-to-be-vacated thrones of undisputed Japanese world bantamweight king Naoya Inoue.

Their chances could come shortly after the quests of Tapales and Bornea.

Also being groomed to get back in the title hunt are ex-champions Jerwin Ancajas and Mark Magsayo.

Things are indeed looking up for Philippine boxing. I have a funny feeling that there will be several world champions by the end of 2023.

Of course, there’s the legend himself Manny Pacquiao, who could resume doing exhibitions. If not, he could also wind up staging a comeback, perhaps, for a farewell fight on local soil.

Then there’s Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Eumir Marcial, who is neck-deep in training in Las Vegas for a fourth pro fight being eyed for February.

This fight is going to be crucial because another lackluster showing could alter his fortunes.

But Marcial, a heavy-handed southpaw, is likely to finally score a resounding victory as he has been undergoing tough strength and conditioning training under Memo Heredia for several weeks now.

While the pros’ schedule is going to be hectic, the amateurs are going to be busy as well.

By January, members of the national team will show up for the start of training camp for the 2023 Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in May.

Last time out, the Filipinos brought home three gold, one silver and five bronze medals for an overall placing of third behind host Vietnam and traditional powerhouse Thailand.

The three SEA Games champions are Rogen Ladon, Ian Clark Bautista and Marcial.

After Cambodia, focus will shift to the all-important Hangzhou Asian Games in September-October.

The boxing competitions there will serve as a qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Will Marcial put his pro career on hold and attempt to qualify in the Asian Games?

That’s a great question whose answer merits another column piece.
Stay tuned.

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