THE Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (Abap) have lined up two major local competitions to start the year, including the national championship leading off to the Asian Youth tournament in March at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone gym.
The Capitol Grounds in Iba, Zambales, lent by the provincial government led by Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., will be the site of the PLDT-Abap National Capital Region-Luzon Area tournament on January 22-26.
A total of 70 to 80 boxers coming from 15 boxing clubs and associations are expected to compete for slots to the PLDT-Abap National Championships next month.
That will be in Maasin, Southern Leyte on February 17-23 where the best in the country will trade punches and look to impress Abap coaches recruiting talent for the national team.
The best performers of the other regional tournaments held last year in Bago City (Visayas) and General Santos City (Mindanao) will lock horns with the qualifiers from the Zambales tourney.
Notable products of Abap’s grassroots development program are London Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga, 2011 World Junior champion Eumir Felix Marcial, World Series campaigner Charly Suarez, and World Youth bronze medalist Jade Bornea.
“We are picking up from where we left off,” said Abap president Ricky Vargas. “This is our way of starting the year with a bang. We’re seeing to it that our program is active and robust, leading up to the major tournament of the year, the Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar this November.”
The Asian Youth Boxing Championship is set March 10-17 in Subic Bay with entries from 20 top 25 countries flying in.