THE chances look good on paper, but the Filipino boxers are still hoping for some luck in the draw as they look to give the country its first Olympic medal in 20 years.
Rogen Ladon got to as high as third in the lightflyweight division rankings this year while Charly Suarez was just outside the Top 10 in the lightweight class.
Coach Nolito Velasco said the fighters are ready to fight anyone assigned to them, but noted it would be nice to be lucky and avoid early clashes with the big guns.
“We are hoping for a better draw,” said Velasco, who ran a light training session for the two Filipino boxers on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time) at Pavilion 5 of the Riocenter Convention Center.
A couple of rounds of shadow boxing and sparring were followed with a few more on the heavy bag, then the two boxers cooled down by running back to the Athletes Village less than a kilometer away from the training venue.
“Let’s hope that we don’t cross paths with the other favorites. We don’t want the championship bouts in our opening bouts,” added Velasco, elder brother of 1996 Atlanta Games silver medalist Mansueto “Onyok” and 1992 Barcelona Olympics bronze medal winner Roel.
Boxing competitions in Rio will run from August. 6 to Aug. 21, with medals at stake in 10 weight divisions for men and three for women.
“If we get the breaks in the draw, then we get better chances of winning medals here,” added Velasco as he walked back to the Athletes Village.
“But our boxers are ready for whoever is put in front of them,” said Velasco.
No Filipino athlete has brought home a medal from the Olympics since Onyok took the silver in the light-flyweight class in Atlanta.
Ladon and Suarez will see action on August 6 but are still awaiting the results of the draw days before the start of the competition.
Velasco said the boxers are well rested and ready to go.
“We’re just trying to maintain their form. There’s no problem with the weight,” he said.