AS their fellow Filipino boxers fight for gold medals in the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia, two others attempt to do the same in the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Hamburg, Germany.
The duo of Olympian Rogen Ladon and Dannel Maamo banner the country’s bid to win a first-ever gold in the biennial meet set from August 25 to Sept. 3 to be held in Northern Germany’s major port city.
The lean PH team left the country late Monday night for an eight-hour trip to Istanbul, before taking a connecting four-hour flight to Hamburg.
Ladon, who saw action in last year’s Rio De Janeiro Olympics, will vie in the light flyweight category (49 kg), while Maamo sees action in the flyweight division (52 kg).
The two qualified for the world meet after winning the bronze in their respective divisions during the ASBC Asian Elite Men’s Championship in Tashkent, Uzbekistan last May.
A third boxer in Eumir Felix Marcial also qualified in the Hamburg tournament, but was pulled out by the Alliance of Boxing Association in the Philippines (ABAP) to concentrate instead of vying for a gold medal in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.
Ladon was a bronze medalist in the 2015 edition of the world tilt held in Doha, Qatar.
ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson sees Ladon and Maamo as definitely the country’s top bets for the gold, although he said the association is tempering its expectations.
“Both Ladon and Maamo prepared hard for this. They’re in great shape, but it’s hard to make any sort of projection especially in the world championships,” said Picson in a statement from Malaysia, where he currently supervises the team’s campaign in the SEA Games.
“You can be sure however, they will give it their all.”
Accompanying the team are coaches Nolito Velasco and Ronald Chavez.
Olympians Roel Velasco and Harry Tanamor were the closest to win the country’s first ever gold in the world stage.
Velasco settled for the silver medal after losing to Cuban Maikro Romero in the light-flyweight final during the 1997 staging in Budapest, Hungary, while Tanamor also did the same in the 2007 edition in Chicago, Illinois when Zou Shiming of China beat him for the gold.