Roldan Boncales hurdles Vietnamese foe in opening round of Olympic qualifier in China
Roldan Boncales a 3-0 winner over Tran Von Thao of Vietnam in the PH team's first fight in the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying Event in China.

QIAN'AN CITY, Hebei Province, China – The least known of the six-man Philippine team to the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying Event, Roldan Boncales Jr., bore the responsibility of leading off the country's campaign here on the second day of competitions Saturday.

Looking a bit overwhelmed at the task, the 23 year-old flyweight from General Santos City, had to draw on his combinations to fend off a spirited challenge from Vietnam national champion Tran Von Thao, 24.

Boncales got the nod of all three judges from Kazakhstan, Lithuania, and Belarus who turned in identical 30-27 cards.

Boncales' last fight was at the Indonesian President's Cup April last year where he got hit hard in the face by a head butt. Upon returning to the Philippines, he underwent surgery at the Makati Medical Center for a hairline fracture that laid him off for about three months.

A few months ago, however, he came back with a vengeance, impressing the ABAP national coaches who allowed him to challenge for the 52 kg. spot against SEA Games & Sri Lanka Lion's Cup gold medalist Ian Clark Bautista.

“It was a very difficult decision for the coaches and management but we decided to give Boncales the slot because of his fiery performances in our Baguio box-offs and in the U.S. training camp. Bautista however, will get a crack in the next Olympic qualifier in June so long as he stays in shape,” said ABAP executive director Ed Picson.

Coach Nolito ‘Boy’ Velasco said he had to practically scream at and douse water on Boncales after he looked dazed after the first round.

“Parang natulala at sumusuntok na lang by instinct. Kaya sinabuyan ko ng tubig at sinabi ko mag-focus at huwag intindihin ang crowd. Natauhan naman at lumaban ng laban niya”(He seemed dazed and was punching by instinct alone. So I doused him with water and told him to focus and not mind the crowd. He was then able to shake it off and fought his fight),” Velasco said.

Boncales vowed to be more focused in his next fight on Monday against No. 4 seed Olzhas Sattibayev of Kazakhstan.

Sunday, female boxer Nesthy Petecio goes up against Jennifer Chieng of Micronesia who actually fights in the U.S. She is reported to be half-Filipina.

Charly Suarez, seeded number 2 in the lightweight class, debuts on the same day against Chinese-Taipei's Lai Chu En, who upset Turkmenistan's Imankuliyev in a split decision Saturday.


Rogen Ladon and Eumir Felix Marcial, seeded number one in the light flyweight and welterweight classes, respectively, will have their first fight on Monday, the 28th, along with bantamweight Mario Fernandez, who drew a bye

Follow the writer on Twitter: @spinph