National pugs to train in Thailand

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    WITH a slot open for US-based Olympic qualifier Felix Eumir Marcial, the national boxing team left yesterday for Thailand for a 40-day training camp as part of its intensive preparations for the Tokyo Olympic Games and Vietnam Southeast Asian Games.

    The team is bannered by Tokyo-bound boxer Irish Magno and Olympic hopefuls Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio, according to boxing Secretary-General Ed Picson.

    Picson said the others boxers in the squad are Rogen Ladon, Ian Clark Bautista, Junmilarde Ogayre, James Palicte, Marjon Pianar, Riza Pasulit and Aira Villegas.

    The coaches accompanying them are Nolito Velasco, Ronald Chavez, Elmer Pamisa, Reynaldo Galido and Australian boxing consultant Don Abnett.

    Picson reiterated the local boxing body’s desire to have Marcial, who signed a six-year pro ring contract with MP Promotions and left for the US last October, reunited with his national teammates and become re-acquainted with the nuances of amateur boxing.

    “We will have a meeting with his (Marcial’s) handlers soon,” Picson said of his coming dialogue with veteran American promoter Sean Gibbons, the MP Promotions chief who is overseeing Marcial’s training in Los Angeles under noted trainer Freddie Roach.

    Gibbons earlier said he preferred the three-time SEA Games gold medalist staying put in the US to train and was, in fact, lined up for his second pro fight in April.

    Marcial prevailed in his initial bout as a pro, displaying some rust after being inactive for several months before fashioning a unanimous decision triumph over American journeyman Andrew Whitfield in four rounds last Dec. 16 at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles.

    He and Magno could be joined in Tokyo by Paalam and Petecio, both 30th SEA Games gold medalists, based on their current standings in the world Olympic qualifying rankings.