The Philippine boxing squad will sorely miss the services of perennial gold medalists Mark Anthony Barriga and lightweight Charly Suarez in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games.
The Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (Abap) said yesterday that Barriga and Suarez have opted instead to ply their trade in the money-making AIBA Pro Boxing tournament.
The 2015 SEAG will be held June 5 to 16 in Singapore and ABAP executive director Ed Picson said the decision of the two won’t make a dent in the selection of a equally-worthy bets.
“The talent is deep,” said Picson, adding that Barriga, 21, has plenty of successors in the 49 kg class, while there are also a few capable of succeeding Suarez, 26, in the 60 kg division.
Barriga, who competed in the 2012 London Olympics, took the bronze in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon and took the gold in the 2013 SEAG in Myanmar, while Suarez, a two-time SEAG champion (2009 and 2011) settled for the silver in Incheon.
With the Abap allowing Barriga and Suarez to sit out the SEAG and give the others a chance to compete, the substitutes will have to be at their finest to make sure they get to fight for a podium finish.
Thailand is the traditional titleholder of the sport in the SEAG and its fighters are expected to take full advantage unless it also decides to give the young ones the opportunity to compete.
The absence of Barriga and Suarez should affect the ambitious bid of the Philippines to make waves in Singapore.
Chief of mission Julian Camacho sees the Philippines taking between 40 to 50 gold medals in Singapore, which could propel the Philippines to third or fourth place.
There will be ten gold medas at stake in boxing in Singapore, six in the men’s and four in the women’s.
Singapore wants all 11 nations to submit the fi nal list of competitors by April.
Source : Tempo.com.ph