THE Philippines will no longer be participating in the Asian Boxing Confederation (ASBC) Asian Under-22 Men and Women Championships slated for Jan. 20-30 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) scare.

“We withdrew from the tournament. Too risky. A lot of other countries have also pulled out,” said Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines president Ed Picson on Tuesday.

Mark Lester Durens, Ernie Garcia, Junmilardo Ogayre, Jere Samuel dela Cruz, John Paul Panuayan, Marjon Pianar, Mary I.C. Sinadjan and Maricel dela Torre were scheduled to leave the country today if not for the last-minute withdrawal.

ABAP secretary-general Marcus Manalo would have been the head of delegation.

It was a heartbreaking development for the young pugs, who have set aside their Christmas vacation and focused on their preparation for the 11-day Tashkent meet.

The team will be back to training camp along with the rest of the national squad training for the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games set on May 12-25. — Joey Villar