Olympic boxing world qualifiers cancelled

The International Olympic Committee Boxing Task Force (BTF) announced Monday via a virtual meeting that the World Qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympics has been cancelled.

The BTF has taken over the function of organizing the boxing competitions in the Olympics after the International Boxing Association (AIBA) was suspended by the Olympic body in 2019. The suspension remains in effect.

The tournament was originally scheduled for May 2020 in Paris but was postponed for this year because of the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Two other uncompleted qualifiers, those of the Americas and Europe will push through, but had to be moved back to May and June, respectively.

The Olympic Games is scheduled for July to August.

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Alliance of Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) secretary-general Ed Picson, who attended the meeting with more than 30 other Asian countries, said the forum was headed by Task Force Head Morinari Watanabe of Japan.

Lenny Abbey, another IOC official and Task Force member, made the one-hour presentation.

The Task Force also held similar presentations to the three other continents separately.

Mr. Picson said the Task Force explained that because of time constraints and safety concerns, it was decided to forego the World Qualifiers.

ABAP president Ricky Vargas said “this might prove beneficial to our cause, since some of our boxers are ranked highly among those who have not yet qualified. I hope we get at least two more in Tokyo.”

Two Filipino boxers have qualified through the Asian/Oceanian Qualifying Tournament held in Amman, Jordan, last year. They are middleweight Eumir Felix Marcial and women’s flyweight Irish Magno.

At the moment, several boxers are in the thick of training under “bubble conditions” at the INSPIRE Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna, and are slated to leave for Thailand for a joint training camp late this month.

Among them are Ms. Magno, (Eumir Marcial is still in the United States), current featherweight world champion Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, Rogen Ladon, Ian Clark Bautista, Mario Fernandez, Aira Villegas and others.

The BTF is scheduled to make the official announcement of those who will be qualified for Tokyo (due to the cancellation) in March.

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