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Pro boxer bids for Paris slot

MANILA, Philippines — Criztian Pitt Laurente is putting his pro boxing career on hold to bid for a slot in the Paris Olympics and will join Carlo Paalam, Rogen Ladon and Hergie Bacyadan in the final World Qualifiers in Bangkok on May 23-June 3. There are 51 Olympic tickets left for boxing, 28 men and 23 women, in 13 weight divisions.

Laurente (63.5kg) is now in Bangkok with Paalam (57kg), Ladon (51kg), Bacyadan (75kg) and coaches Don Abnett, Elmer Pamisa, Reynaldo Galido and Mitchel Martinez. Also with the team are early Olympic qualifiers Eumir Marcial (80kg), Nesthy Petecio (57kg) and Aira Villegas (50kg). ABAP secretary-general Marcus Manalo and coach Ronald Chavez will later fly to the Thai capital for the Qualifiers.

A southpaw, Laurente turned pro in 2019 after a distinguished amateur career where he won gold medals at the 2012 and 2014 Palarong Pambansa, 2016 Philippine National Games and 2016 Children of Asia International Games in Yakutsk, Russia and bronze at the 2018 World Youth Championships in Budapest, Hungary. His pro record is 12-0, with seven KOs.  

Laurente said it’s been his dream to represent the country in the Olympics since he was in elementary school. “Malaki ang adjustment sa pag-balik ng amateur since five years ako nawala sa national team,” he said. “Di ko pa muna isipin pag-balik sa pro kasi sobrang focus ako sa Olympic goal.” Manalo said he invited Laurente to try out for the Asian Games last year. “Pitt couldn’t commit that time then expressed interest at the start of this year, did a box-off against (Mark Ashley) Fajardo after the first World Qualifiers and won,” said Manalo. “All four boxers in Bangkok have a good chance of qualifying for Paris.”