MANILA -- Team Philippines suffered a major blow as women's boxing was scrapped and men's boxing events were cut when the 29th Southeast Asian (Sea) Games gets underway in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on August 19 to 31.

National men's boxing head coach Nolito Velasco, at the sidelines of the grand launching of the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI) at the PhilSports Multi-Purpose Arena in Pasig City last January 16, Monday, said the men's 60 kilograms (kgs) and men's 69 kgs divisions were excluded from the roster of men's boxing events.

Thus, affecting the Sea Games bids of Incheon Asian Games silver medalist and Rio Olympian lightweight Charly Suarez of Sawata, Davao del Norte and ASBC Asian Boxing Championships 2016 welterweight silver medalist Eumir Felix Marcial.

“Nilalaban pa (na maibalik ang dalawang events) pero sa tingin ko malabo na (We are fighting to bring back the two events but it seems to be impossible to happen),” Velasco said, adding that the host country only included six divisions - 49 kgs, 45 kgs, 56 kgs, 64 kgs, 81 kgs, and 90 kgs.

Velasco's brother Roel, a Barcelona Olympics boxing bronze medalist and national women's boxing coach, was dismayed that all events of the women's boxing were excluded in the bi-ennial Games.

Roel said, “Siyempre nalulungkot po dahil mababawasan ang gintong medalya ng boxing ng Pilipinas (sa Sea Games) (Of course I’m dismayed since the Philippines will have lesser gold medals in boxing to win ini Sea Games).”

He added the women's boxers will be without competition.

“Sabi ko nga sa mga boksingera na wag mawalan ng pag-asa hangga't nasa boxing kasi nandyan ang competition kaya tuloy lang sa paghahanda may laban man o wala (I told the female boxers to never lose hope when it comes to boxing since there is the competition that’s why continue to prepare even if there is a fight or not),” he said.

Amateur Boxing Alliances of the Philippines Executive director Ed Picson, according to Roel, told them that the women's boxing team will compete in the Asian Boxing Championships and Aiba World Boxing Championships.

Roel and his wards, including Nesthy Alcayde Petecio of Davao del Sur, returned to Baguio City for their high altitude training.

The national men's and women's boxing teams attended the PSI launch.

Petecio, 2015 Aiba Women's World Boxing silver medalist, said she was also disappointed upon hearing the news that she and her teammates won't be competing in the Sea Games.

“Sayang gani kaayo, gitanggal man hinuon ang women boxing (It's unfortunate that women's boxing was removed from the Games),” Petecio, whose amateur boxing career started in Davao City, said.

Barangay Una Boxing Team of Davao del Norte product Rey Saludar, who won a gold medal in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, said he looks forward to competing in Kuala Lumpur but he also has been fulfilling his duties as enlisted personnel of the Philippine Army.

Saludar, who hails from South Cotabato, added: “Ungta lagi makabalik nako og dula (I hope I get to compete again).”

Suarez, for his part, said he will just get himself ready for any competition if he could not see action in this year's edition of the Sea Games.