Young Filipinos box clever to emulate Pacquiao

Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:16pm EDT
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By John O'Brien

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Ed Picson can justifiably feel proud of his work at the Southeast Asian Games this week after the executive director of the Philippines amateur boxing board witnessed his 10-strong team of fighters all take home medals from Singapore.

Tasked with finding the archipelago's generation next, Picson was brimming with pride as his country's boxers cut a swathe through the region's best pugilists to top the medal table with five golds, three silvers and two bronzes.

"I am very happy with our performance this week," a beaming Picson told Reuters in the shadow of the Expo Hall grandstand where his nation's fans cheered on their favorite fighters.

"We brought 10 boxers here, mandated by the rules, that is six men and four women. Eight of them reached finals and the two that didn't will go home with bronze medals, so we couldn't ask for more.

"The SEA Games is very crucial when you experience the groundswell of support for athletes in this regional competition and it gives you a sense of being on the international stage," he added.

"It's very important for them to be exposed ... to be in such competitions with a high profile so that when we are in the bigger tournaments ahead they won't feel so anxious."

The name Manny Pacquiao is synonymous with boxing in the Philippines, the eight-weight division world champion having shaped the landscape of the sport in the country for almost two decades.

Picson believes it is a positive influence.   Continued...

Boxer Manny Pacquiao waves to the crowds during a motorcade in Manila May 13, 2015, after arrving from Las Vegas.    REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco