BANGKOK – Flyweight Ian Clark Bautista and welterweight Eumir Felix Marcial return to action Wednesday seeking semifinals berths in the tough ASBC Asian Boxing Championships at the Thammasat University Gymnasium.
Bautista and Marcial, both gold medal winners in the last Southeast Asian Games in Singapore, will also clinch slots to the AIBA World Championships in Doha, Qatar on Oct. 5 to 15 if they hurdle their respective quarterfinals assignments.
The Doha event will serve as qualifier to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Light-flyweight Rogen Ladon was in a quarterfinals matchup with second seed Murodjon Rasulov of Tajikistan as of presstime Tuesday evening. A victory will also carry the native of Negros Occidental to the semis here.
Bautista will square off with Azat Usenaliev of Kyrgyzstan while Marcial, who has made some heads turn because of his toughness inside the ring, will be the underdog against hometown bet Saylom Ardee.
“This is critical. All our fights from hereon are critical. There are no two ways about it. We need to win,” said Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) executive director Ed Picson.
Head coach Pat Gaspi said there’s no easy fight in a competition like this.
“It only gets tougher as you move along. This is the Asian Championships. The best boxers from Asia are here. But our boxers are ready for any challenge,” said Gaspi, joined by fellow coaches Boy Velasco and Reynaldo Galido, in Filipino.
Bantamweight Mario Fernandez, the back-to-back SEA Games champion, and lightweight Charly Suarez, silver medalist in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, bowed out following close defeats to fighters from Kazakhstan.
Ladon advanced to the quarterfinals with a convincing 3-0 win over Rakhmankul Avatov of Kyrgyzstan last Sunday when Marcial also came out a big winner over second seed Israil Madrinov of Uzbekistan.
Bautista moved one win shy of a slot to the World Championships by beating Trong Thai Bui of Vietnam, 3-0, Monday afternoon.