HARD LABOR: Marcial, ABAP head to German camp

Filipino boxers Hergie Bacyadan, Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, Aira Villegas and Eumir Marcial are working double-time to prepare for the Paris Olympics.
Filipino boxers Hergie Bacyadan, Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, Aira Villegas and Eumir Marcial are working double-time to prepare for the Paris Olympics. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Eumir Marcial/FB

BERGAMO, Italy — Two of the three female fighters revving up for the Paris Olympics are going to get imported sparring from the Philippines.

The guys being called up are not typical woman sparring partners.

“Nesthy (Petecio) and Aira (Villegas) will stay in Metz, France for the first couple of weeks. We are bringing male sparring partners for them from Manila for better challenge,” Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines secretary general Marcus Manalo said from the Filipino athletes’ training camp in Metz.

The initial plan was to bring the entire team to a three-week camp in Saarbrücken in Germany, a border city just an hour from Metz.

But only Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Carlo Paalam and bronze medalist Eumir Marcial are going there alongside the third member of the woman’s squad, Hergie Bacyadan.

Marcial spent the vast majority of his preparation in Las Vegas but did the final buildup prior to his European sojourn in Washington, D.C. under the supervision of Kay Koroma, who has taken over the reins of the Filipino lefty’s career in the professional ranks.

Marcial immediately plunged into training in France and national team coach Ronald Chavez presided over the workout as they were scheduled to proceed to Saarbrücken.

Petecio and Paalam and Marcial are the Philippines’ strongest contenders for a podium finish in the 26 July to 10 August Summer Games as they target to end the quest for the elusive gold in the sport.

Marcial was the only Filipino boxer who got seeded in the tournament but is expected to face a tough challenge still given the cast of crack entries in the 80-kilogram class.

Boxing has produced eight Olympic medals — four silvers and four bronzes — in its storied campaign, making up for more than half of the Philippines’ total output.

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