17th Asian GamesMANILA — Owing to its track record and high expectations, boxing is treating its buildup for the 17th Asian Games as if it were a talent search for an Olympic medal hopeful. 

The Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP) won’t be naming the final roster of its Asian Games-bound squad until after the completion of two overseas tournaments next month.

ABAP Executive Director Ed Picson said the 14 aspirants for the Incheon Games will be sent abroad to compete in Kazakhstan and China in July.

“We’d know the composition of the Asian Games team after their campaign in those two countries,” said Picson. 

Six male and two female fighters will make it to Incheon, and Picson said that the slots are up for grabs for the team members.

Still, Picson said the usual aspirants are still around after the ABAP had trimmed the lineup to 14 from the original 20.

Big names like London Olympian Marc Barriga and former world junior champion Felix Marcial are still in the running, and Picson expected them to hurdle their assignments in the coming weeks. ABAP hopes to send a formidable team to the Sept. 19-Oct. 4 sportsfest.

Boxing has been a perennial source of Philippine gold medals from the Asian Games, and the ABAP is determined to make a splash.

In the 2010 Guangzhou Asiad, boxing won one gold medal. (Manila Bulletin)