Ladon goes up against former foes in AIBA worlds

By JP Abcede

MANILA--Filipino light-flyweight Rogen Ladon gets to see old, familiar faces when he plunges into action at the 2017 AIBA World Championships that officially comes off the wraps Friday at the Sporthalle.

There are a few names that ring a bell, but Ladon, who is one of just a handful of fighters being seen as capable of barging into the medal podium in the light-flyweight class (49kg), has his sights trained on a trio notorious for inflicting him hurt and pain: Rio Olympics gold medalist and Val Barker Best Fighter awardee Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan, silver medalist Yuberjen Martínez of Colombia, and Vasilii Egorov of Russia.

Ladon, who took the bronze in the 2015 edition held in Qatar, wants to at least match his feat two years ago. But it is not going to be easy as evidenced by the presence of the same punchers who regularly stand side-by-side in the medal podium in major tournaments held each year.

Still, Ladon remains unfazed as he aims to make heads turn in his trip that was funded by the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines in coordination with the Philippine Sports Commission.

“Kami-kami rin na magkaka-kilala ang nagkikita-kita pero sa kundisyunan na lang magkakatalo iyan,” said Ladon.

In Rio, Ladon got eliminated early after being upset by Martínez, who eventually faced Dusmatov, another boxer Ladon has troubles defeating, in the gold medal match.

Egorov, who topped the European qualifying, is also one fellow Ladon has fought and lost to. In the semifinals of the 2015 worlds, Ladon dropped a decision to the Russian.

Ladon’s coaches, Nolito Velasco and Ronald Chavez, are upbeat that the Bago City native would exact payback.

“Handa si Rogen. Lalaban siya ng husto,” said Velasco.

“Determinadong manalo at mag-uwi ng medalya,” added Chavez, who will help out Velasco in the cornerwork not only of Ladon but also of fly bet Dannel Maamo.

Of the total 280 fighters seeing action here, 18 are Rio Olympics medalists.

Ladon makes his debut on Sunday after getting a first-round bye being the division’s fifth seed, meeting the winner of the duel between Kazakhstan’s Zhomart Yerzhan and Michael Tello of Guatemala.

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