NONITO Donaire Sr.’s hopes are high that the Philippines will win its first Olympic gold from boxers Charly Suarez and Rogen Ladon.
However, he believes that in order for both of them to bag that elusive gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Aug. 5 to 21, they have to put in hard work and fight a perfect fight against the cream of the crop in the amateur boxing world.
“We have a huge chance, but they should train really hard because winning in the Olympics isn’t easy. All the experienced fighters are there,” Donaire Sr. told Sun.Star Cebu.
Donaire Sr., the consultant of the Philippine boxing team, is one of the best Filipino coaches in pro boxing. He is credited for guiding the stellar boxing career of his son and Filipino superstar Nonito Donaire Jr., a world champion in four different divisions.
He also trained both Nonito Jr. and his brother Glenn in the amateur ranks.
“They have to fight smart and not just rely on their brute strength. They have to combine speed, intelligence and power inside the ring. That’s the No. 1 key in winning in the Olympics,” said Donaire Sr. of both Ladon and Suarez.
Ladon and Suarez are in the US to train for their upcoming bid in the Rio Olympics. They have been sparring at different gyms, but mostly at the Top Rank Gym in Las Vegas. Ladon has been sparring with US-based Filipino Jobert Alvarez, while Suarez has been trading blows with different Mexican boxers.
Ladon, 22, earned a slot in Rio Olympics after beating Indian Devendro Singh Laishram, 30-27, in the semi-finals of the Asian-Oceanian Olympic Qualifiers in March at the Tangshan Sports Centre in Quian’An, China.
The 27-year-old Suarez, on the other hand, also qualified in that same tournament after stopping Chinese foe Jun Shan.
The Philippines’ highest finish in the Olympics are its two silver medals in boxing.
The late Anthony Villanueva settled for a silver medal finish in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics after losing to Russian Stanislav Stephaskin by a controversial 3-2 decision.
The Philippines’ second silver medal, which was also full of controversy, was in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, wherein Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco dropped a decision loss to Bulgarian Daniel Petrov. Velaso landed the more telling blows, but his scores was credited to Petrov. That fight was dubbed as “The Robbery in Atlanta.”