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By Nick Giongco

The Philippine men and women’s boxing teams are flying out of Bangkok on Thursday morning to Amman, Jordan, site of the Asia-Oceania Olympic boxing tournament.

Philippines' Eumir Felix Marcial (red) defeats Malaysia's Che Azmi Mohd Aswan in Boxing middleweight semifinals at PICC Forum in Pasay, December 6, 2019 (Rio Leonelle Deluvio / Canon 1DX Mark II with 400mm f2.8 lens)

Philippines’ Eumir Felix Marcial (red) (MB Photo / Rio Leonelle Deluvio / Canon 1DX Mark II with 400mm f2.8 lens)

Scheduled March 3-11, the slugfest will be the first of just two screening events for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The Filipino punchers were originally booked to return to Manila from a two-week training camp in Thailand but was advised by the Jordan Olympic Committee to fly from Bangkok instead of Manila the soonest possible time.

Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines secretary general Ed Picson said that they were all set to leave for Amman on Friday but it will be just him and coach Roel Velasco who will take that flight.

“Our boxers have been given their tickets and they’ll leave Bangkok early Thursday morning (2am) and will be in Jordan at 4am,” said Picson, noting that Reynaldo Galido and Ronald Chavez are going to join hands in calling the shots.

The reason behind the sudden change of flight schedule was for Jordanian authorities to monitor those taking part in the event given the rapid rise in cases of coronavirus patients worldwide.

Picson said the national team of China, where the disease originated, have been in Jordan since Feb. 2 alongside some other national squads from the former Russian republics.

After Amman, boxers who were unable to secure Olympic slots can try their luck during the World Qualification that Paris will host in May.

The Asia-Oceania was supposed to take place in Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus, last Feb. 3-Feb. 14 but the International Olympic Committee advised that it be staged in another country.

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