Gold clinched, Ian Clark Bautista eyes Paris Olympics stint as career highlight – rezal404

Ian Clark Bautista in the SEA Games 2023 boxing final.  –TEAM PHILIPPINES POOL

Ian Clark Bautista in the SEA Games 2023 boxing final. –TEAM PHILIPPINES POOL

PHNOM PENH—Ian Clark Bautista has a vast collection of boxing medals back home, but there’s one more piece of hardware that he’s dying to acquire for his trophy room.

“I compete in the SEA (Southeast Asian) Games, Asian championships, the Asian Games and even in the world Olympic qualifiers, but I have never been to the Olympics,” said Bautista after prevailing for the featherweight plum in men’s boxing at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games.

The 28-year-old pride of Binalbagan, Negros Occidental, claimed his second straight title in these Games and though Bautista remains ecstatic with these victories, an Olympic experience will no doubt complete a life-long dream.

Thanking Ed Picson

“I’ve been here (in the national boxing team) for 14 years and what a way it would be to highlight my career with a stint in [the] Paris Olympics,” said Bautista, who offered his win to form boxing association president Ed Picson who passed away recently.

He profusely thanked Picson for bringing him to the national team back in 2009 when he couldn’t even compete locally.

“I was too light and small back then. He asked me what will I do when I go back to the province and I told him nothing. I then trained in Baguio for two years before finally competing at the international level,” said Bautista.

The progress for Bautista was quick, winning a gold medal in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore along with a clump of medals in a variety of foreign meets.

Bautista’s path to the Paris Summer Games next year will run through the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, this September with the finalists in his weight division automatically booking that rare French trip.

“I will work hard for it step by step. The Asian Games is now world-class, some of the best boxers in the world will be there,” said Bautista.

Olympic silver medalists Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio will go for the gold on Sunday along with three other Filipino boxers after the national boxing squad captured only one mint through Bautista.

Rogen Ladon relinquished his flyweight title while Irish Magno and Riza Pasuit ended up with silver medals, too.

Baustista fought a tactical battle in an unanimous win over Asri Udin of Indonesia. He saw an opening right on the first round and pressed on the attack to quickly seize the advantage after two rounds.

Udin was an easy target for the much-faster Bautista, who just bobbed and weaved out of harm’s way in the final round to secure the country’s first gold medal in men’s boxing.

“I saw that he’s in pain when I kept throwing punches at his stomach. That’s where I attacked him most,” said Bautista.

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