PH boxer Fernandez withdraws from Olympic qualifier due to cataracts

Ryan Songalia
PH boxer Fernandez withdraws from Olympic qualifier due to cataracts
The Philippines will field just two boxers to the final Olympic qualifier after Mario Fernandez withdraws with an eye injury

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine boxing team will field just two boxers to the AIBA World Olympic Qualification event after bantamweight Mario Fernandez withdrew due to cataracts in his left eye.

Flyweight Ian Clark Bautista and welterweight Eumir Marcial are already in Baku, Azerbaijan, where they’ll seek one of 5 Olympic spots up for grabs at the meet which takes place June 16-25. Lightweight Charly Suarez and light flyweight Rogen Ladon have qualified for the Rio Olympics and will continue their preparations in Las Vegas.

After the 22-year-old Fernandez complained of double vision last week, he had a check-up at the PLDT Medical Clinic in Baguio CIty and was referred to an ophthalmologist, Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) executive director Ed Picson tells Rappler.

“Although it is not life-threatening nor a serious condition, this is boxing and the cause of the condition was trauma so we didn’t want to take the risk. We would rather he continue with the tests and treatment the doctors have lined up for him and hopefully he can fully recover and fight another day,”  said Picson of Fernandez, a two-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist and a member of the Philippine Air Force.

Picson said Fernandez’s first doctor discouraged him from continuing his boxing career, but a second doctor certified him fit to box.

“But I asked Mario himself and he said he had some doubts, and I said ‘You cannot have doubts when you get into the ring; you have to be 100% sure that you want to fight,’” said Picson.

Picson said Fernandez, who hails from Valencia City in Bukidnon, expressed concern about the possibility of a complication which could cause blindness – a possibility doctors had raised – and said he didn’t want to take the risk.

“I need to box but there’s always this possibility that, you know, something might happen which could cause blindness,” Picson quoted Fernandez as telling him.

Picson continued: “The thing is, you have to get up there, to go out there to the ring, and you know how it is in boxing, anything can happen so, you have to let me know.

“Then [Fernandez] says,’I’d rather not.'”

The Olympic boxing tournament will take place from August 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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