Published on January 10, 2008
The rivalry between the region's leading boxing nations, took an ugly turn in the recent SEA Games in Nakhon Ratchasima following the Philippines' forfeiture in the finals of the men's event.
According to the Filipino camp, the decision emanated from their dissatisfaction over officiating in the women's category that saw them claim only a single gold medal, despite featuring in six finals.
This took some sheen off the Thai team's monumental achievement in the regional sporting event, which saw them clinch 16 of the 17 gold on offer.
Amateur Boxing Association of Thailand chief General Thaweep Jantharoj insisted that the decision to disqualify the Philippines team from the event, to be held from January 25 to February 2 in Bangkok, was not a retaliatory action. He revealed the decision was made as the Filipinos delayed submitting their documents.
"Everything was ready for the event. There are 27 countries competing, and we faced the problem only in the case of the Philippines. They sent the list of athletes after the deadline of December 20. We then sent them a communiqué informing them of their disqualification from the tournament. This decision has nothing to do with what happened in the SEA Games," Thaweep said.
In the event, the hosts will be represented in four divisions, with three Athens Olympic heroes, Worapoj Petchkum, Manus Boonjumnong and Suriya Prasarthinpimai featuring in bantamweight, light welterweight and middleweight categories respectively and Ankarn Chomphuphuang in the light heavyweight.
Thailand sealed five Olympic qualifying spots in the World Championships in Chicago through light flyweight Amnaj Ruenroeng, flyweight Somjit Jongjohor, featherweight Sairom Ardee, lightweight Pichai Sayota and welterweight Nont Boonjumnong.