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ABAP needs new recruits

I hope they (ABAP) find a way to proceed with their plans

In order to rely on homegrown talent, there ought to be regular boxing shows for amateur boxers across the nation.

By staging quarterly tournaments for kids, the country won’t find it hard to send strong teams to the Asian Games and even in the Olympic Games.

And by having an abundance of talent, the Philippines won’t have to bank on a professional fighter like Eumir Marcial to deliver the goods in major meets.

This was the opinion of a Cebu-based trainer and sometimes promoter who has a number of promising kids in his stable.

I share his belief that the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines should indeed put up these small events to encourage kids to veer away from vices but to help load up the talent pool.

Look, had it not been for Marcial, the Philippine boxing team would have gone home empty-handed.

The celebrated Tokyo Olympics silver medalists — Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio — were eliminated before reaching the medal round.

Marcial automatically secured a slot in the 2024 Paris Olympics by finishing second in the light-heavyweight division in the Hangzhou Asian Games.

All is not lost for the national team though as there are two Olympic qualifying events taking place in February in Italy and another one in Thailand in June.

Surely, the ABAP is going to move heaven and earth to make sure the Filipino aspirants — not just Paalam and Petecio — end up joining Marcial in France.

“I was hoping that the ABAP would help us in keeping the young kids busy by giving them tournaments to take part in,” said the boxing guy from the Queen City.

“It is not my boxing club that’s going to benefit from it but the country as well because the talent they will discover will be given to the national team,” he said.

Last year, the ABAP leadership went around the Visayas and conferred with noted boxing people in the hopes of reviving amateur boxing.

But the untimely demise of Ed Picson, who used to do expert commentary on boxing on television, put the plans on hold.

“I hope they (ABAP) find a way to proceed with their plans,” said another Cebu boxing fellow.

“There is a lot of talent not just here in Cebu but all over the country… in General Santos City, Digos, Tagum, everywhere.”

“All they need is a chance to showcase their talent,” he added.

I share the same page with these jaded fight dudes.

Instead of looking at just the Paris 2024 Games and Los Angeles, they have to look beyond.

You see, there have been lots of top amateurs who never got the chance to suit up for the Olympics because they decided to turn professional.

One of the ABAP’s missions is to prevent that from happening.

I am not saying that they hoard all the talent because that’s impossible.

But by holding regular shows, they would be able to discover talent and these fighters will be recruited and programmed to fight in the amateurs, in the Asian Games and even in the Olympic Games.

I don’t believe that the professional ranks have been beating the ABAP to the draw.

It’s just that the ABAP is not doing enough to lure them in.

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