If he will put in a lot of work, Aaron Jude Bado could lead the country to another Olympic medal.
Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines secretary general Marcus Manalo yesterday said the future looks bright for the 19-year-old Bado following his golden finish in the men’s flyweight event of the 2023 ASBC Asian U22 Boxing Championships in Bangkok.
Manalo said Bado’s talent is already there so they are just waiting for him to mature and gain enough experience by joining elite competitions like the Southeast Asian Games and Asian Games.
He, however, is stacked in the same weight class as Olympians Rogen Ladon and Carlo Paalam, making it harder for him to get a chance to crack into the national roster.
After all, Carlo Paalam, the silver medalist in the Tokyo Olympics, is just 24 years old while Ladon, who saw action in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, is already 29 but is still in his prime.
“He is a very good young talent and he is probably still growing and will continue to mature physically so we’re looking forward to his progress,” said the youthful boxing executive.
“He has to continue making progress and aim for major international tournaments. He, however, is in the same weight class as Rogen Ladon and Carlo Paalam so he definitely has to put in a lot of work.”
Manalo said Bado is one of their discoveries in the Palarong Pambansa in Davao City in 2019, but they couldn’t enlist him in the national team as he competed behind Ladon and Paalam.
Instead of getting demoralized, Bado trained in his hometown in Cagayan de Oro during the pandemic until the federation formally recruited him last year.
In the elite Asian age-group tourney, Bado delivered a glimpse of his potential.
After a slow start, Bado stepped on the gas in the last two rounds to hammer a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over 2021 World Championships bronze medalist Thanarat Saengphet of Thailand in the gold medal match.
It was Bado’s first stint in the international arena, providing a ray of hope on the future of the country’s boxing program that is still searching for its first Olympic gold medal.
Aside from Bado, also bringing home medals from Bangkok are Flint Jara, who copped the silver in the men’s bantamweight division; Mark Durens, who captured the bronze in the men’s minimum weight event; and Jericho Acaylar, who pocketed the bronze in the men’s featherweight class.
Manalo said the future looks promising but it all depends on the commitment, dedication and mental toughness of the young boxer.
“It’s definitely a good start to his young career,” Manalo said.
“But again, everything depends on his focus and commitment to getting better.”