THE Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (Abap) believes that while there is no need to hire a foreign coach, it’s always important to seek help, knowledge, and assistance from others.
Therefore, Abap executive director Ed Picson yesterday said their decision to tap Irish boxing coach Kevin Smith as consultant should serve the national boxing team in good stead.
“This is nothing new. We’ve had foreign consultants before. Even when we trained in China, we enjoyed the help of foreign consultants,” Picson told the PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate.
Smith, who once coached the national teams of Scotland, Nigeria, and Tanzania, and now based in Liverpool, said he has seen enough since coming in more than two weeks ago.
Smith believes in the talent of the Filipino boxer as well as the coaches.
“It’s obvious that they have the natural talent and good reflexes. There’s a lot of talent for the international scene. I’ve see a lot of promising boxers in the seniors and juniors squad," he said.
“There is talent in the grassroots level. And the style of training is very good though it may need some small variations and nothing much technical, some new styles, and methods in training.”
Smith, according to Picson, knows his place in the system.
“He’s not here to teach us but he’s here to observe, analyze, and assess our training methods. Toward the end he will submit initial recommendations and suggestions to us," Picson said.
“In fact he himself told me the Philippines does not need a foreign coach and that he’s impressed with the knowledge and skills of our coaches.”
The 48-year-old Irishman has a strong background in philosophy, science, engineering, and education on top of his experience as a boxing coach for the last 20 years.
In the London Olympics last August, he offered his services to the Philippine team and helped Roel Velasco man the corner of Mark Anthony Barriga.
“We figured we could make good use of his knowledge. Now he’s here to tell us what we’ve been missing. Then he will figure out which areas he can help,” said Picson.
Velasco, who came to the forum presented by Smart, Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), and Shakey’s, with fellow coach Ronald Chavez, welcomed the arrival of Smith, who was in Bago City last week for the PLDT-ABAP Visayas Area tournament.
“He’s a big help. And he wants to observe first before he makes any suggestion. I think he’s strict when it comes to technique and the delivery of the punches, and on defense,” said Velasco.
“We expect good changes. Now we can learn more of the European style,” added the bronze medalist in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Chavez said: “He’s not here to change or overhaul the program. Only if he sees that we’re lacking in some areas will he try to put in his thoughts.”