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Decorated boxing coach retires

(I’m) looking forward to enjoy my retirement with my family, as I give them the time and effort I missed because of working.

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Boxing coach Nolito “Boy” Velasco had stepped down after a stellar career that reached its climax when three boxers collected medals in the Tokyo Olympics two months ago.

In a statement, the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP) announced the retirement of Velasco, who has been instrumental in turning the federation into one of the most productive national sports associations in the country.

Velasco, the older brother of Olympians Roel and Onyok, said he is looking forward to enjoying his retirement and spending time with his family, something which he missed to do since he dedicated his life to coaching for more than three decades.

“(I’m) looking forward to enjoy my retirement with my family, as I give them the time and effort I missed because of working,” the 58-year-old Velasco said in his resignation letter to ABAP president Ricky Vargas and secretary general Ed Picson that will take effect after 31 December.

Velasco had seen the highest and the lowest points of Philippine boxing in his long stint with the federation.

He was at ringside when Roel campaigned in the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and when Onyok nearly won the gold medal in the Summer Games in Atlanta in 1996.

Then, ABAP had a long drought in the Olympics with no boxer ever coming up with a podium finish until Vargas took over the federation in 2009.

Things, however, changed this year when Velasco connived with the ABAP coaching staff headed by Australian Don Abnett in sending Eumir Marcial, Carlo Paalam, Nesthy Petecio and Irish Magno to the Tokyo Olympics.

Paalam and Petecio emerged with silver medals in the men’s light flyweight and women’s featherweight classes, respectively, while Marcial plucked the bronze medal in the men’s middleweight event to underscore the country’s most successful participation in the Olympics.

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