Boxing recruitment program may need review

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The well-funded boxing team has under-performed in the 2014 Asian Games, putting pressure on the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) to review its recruitment and training programs.

Filipino boxers get a sizeable budget from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for their allowances, equipment and overseas stints apart from the money poured by philanthropist Manny V. Pangilinan.

Despite all these, the boxers will come home with only one silver and four bronzes, a sad follow-up to their one-gold, one-silver, one-bronze showing four years ago in Guangzhou, China.

Boxing association President Ricky Vargas said the no-gold performance in the Asiad will not affect their programs leading to the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.

A change of tack won’t hurt, according to a seasoned boxing expert who asked to remain anonymous.

“We have many talented pro-bound boxers in the provinces but are reluctant to join the national pool because the people who nurtured them are being left out in the equation,” he said. “A win-win solution could be tapping them to become assistant coaches.”

Coaching could be another reason why Filipino boxers are failing in major international events.

“When was the last time we had a foreign coach?” the expert said. “How come we don’t seek help from outside.”

The boxing association used to tap Cuban coaches to train boxers and have had modest successes.

With Kazakhstan winning six of the 13 gold medals in the Games, coaches from the former Soviet republic could be good candidates for the job.

A former boxing official, on the other hand, suggested that instead of protesting against alleged biased officiating and hometown decisions, the ABAP should try and build relationships with judges and referees.

“I’m not saying we bribe them, but extend to them our renowned hospitality,” he said.

“This is the reality on the ground. In an evenly-matched bout, the fighter who comes from a friendly country almost often wins,” he added.

There have been complaints against decisions favoring the host country in the Games.

But at the end of the boxing competition, only two Koreans ended up with gold medals.

Aside from Kazakhstan and South Korea, the other countries which won a gold apiece were China, India, Mongolia, Thailand and North Korea.

Source : Rey Bancod, www.mb.com.ph

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