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Sports

Back to the drawing board

- Lito Tacujan -
ATHENS (Via Globe Telecom) Calls for a radical change in the development program of amateur boxing back home were made after another disappointing finish by the Filipino boxers in the Athens Games.

Bitter over the team’s failure to put a Filipino pug on the medal bouts for the second time in eight years, Philippine officials said it’s high time to look into the program of the sport and search for the winning formula.

"We need to make significant change in strategy. We have to make a radical change on our program and improve our training if we were to make a comeback in the Olympics," said Philippine Olympic Committee president Celso Dayrit.

The boxers stint in the Greek metropolis ended disastrously Saturday night when light flyweight Harry Tañamor followed an ill-conceived and ill-advised gameplan and lost his second round match to Korean Hong Moo Won.

The fate he suffered together with three other boxers — Chris Camat, Violito Payla and Romeo Brin — underscored how much RP amateur boxing had logged behind when ranged against the best in the world.

Boxing chief Manny Lopez, who is a member of the International Amateur Boxing Federation’s Jury of Appeal, said they would review their program and look for the right formula to get RP amateur boxing back on track.

"In training and fighting technique we’re not far behind but we may be deficient in refinement as far as our program is concerned. Once we return to Manila we will assess our performance, and make our recommendations," said Lopez.

There was a consensus to bring in a foreign coach anew after the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) terminated the services of Cuban mentor Raul Liranza following the medal shutout in Sydney.

"It’s ABAP’s decision to bring in a foreign coach or not but other combat sports like karate, fencing and taekwondo have enlisted foreign coaches for some kind of transfer of technology," said Dayrit.

The Philippines could look at Thailand’s proud tradition in the Olympics further enriched with the entry of Cuban coach Juan Batista Fontanills before the Atlanta Olympics.

The Thais have won nine Olympic medals, eight of them on the boxing ring, including two golds. Of the six Thai qualifiers here, four are very much in contention going into the quarterfinal round.

"We should go back to the drawing board as you can see our boxers keep on losing on high level competition like the Olympics," said IOC permanent representative Frank Elizalde.

The 26-year old Tañamor, seeded by the Sports Illustrated as one of four boxers to medal in the division, followed a scheme to launch body attacks and succumbed to a horrible loss to Hong who hammered away with clean head shots.

AMATEUR BOXING ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES

ATHENS GAMES

ATLANTA OLYMPICS

BOXING

CELSO DAYRIT

CHRIS CAMAT

FRANK ELIZALDE

HARRY TA

INTERNATIONAL AMATEUR BOXING FEDERATION

JUAN BATISTA FONTANILLS

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