ALMATY, Kazakhstan - Two veteran boxers got the ball rolling for the PLDT-ABAP team in the tough Kazakhstan President's Cup which went underway late Tuesday in this former capital city.
Rey Saludar, 26, started it off with a unanimous decision win over Kurmetov of the host nation with scores of 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28, all for the Polomolok, South Cotabato Army man.
Another veteran, Charly Suarez, fighting in his first international tournament after his stint with the Milano Thunder in the World Series of Boxing last year, dominated Ammar of Iraq with his similar scores of 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28.
Suarez, of Sawata, Davao del Norte, was sidelined by a spate of injuries upon his return from Italy, March of last year and was mostly inactive for one and a half years.
The Philippine participation here is part of the final selection process of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) for the Asian Games in September.
Another team of boxers is slated to fly to Guiyang, China on Sunday (July 13) for the equally strong China Open.
The other boxers in Almaty are Rogen Ladon and Dennis Galvan.
Galvan fights Chinzorig of Mongolia Wednesday. In the same card, Suarez faces Kazakhstan's Jumsakbaev.
Saludar fights again on Thursday versus Jorge of Cuba, while Ladon, who drew a bye, will tackle still another Kazakh, Erjan in this event that drew 104 boxers from 12 countries including Uzbekistan, Russia, and Azerbaijan. The tournament ends on Sunday.
Coaches are Nolito Velasco and Elmer Pamisa. Team manager is Abap executive director Ed Picson.