PH boxer Mario Fernandez falls short in Olympic qualifier

Ryan Songalia
PH boxer Mario Fernandez falls short in Olympic qualifier
Mario Fernandez loses a decision in the bantamweight box-off, while Rogen Ladon settles for silver in the light flyweight final

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Mario Fernandez fell short in his last ditch effort to qualify for the Rio Olympics.

The Filipino bantamweight lost a unanimous decision (30-27 on 3 cards) to Kazakh boxer Kairat Yeraliyev in the bronze medal box-off at the Asia-Oceania Olympic qualification tournament at Tangshan Sports Centre in Qian’an, China on Friday, April 1.

Fernandez had lost in the semifinals on Thursday to Thailand’s Chatchai Butdee and was relegated to the box-off. His loss means the Philippines’ tally of boxers qualified so far for the 2016 Olympics remains at two, with light flyweight Rogen Ladon and lightweight Charly Suarez booking their tickets on Thursday by making the tournament’s finals.

(READ: Charly Suarez went for broke to earn Olympic slot)

ABAP executive director Ed Picson tells Rappler that Fernandez can still qualify at the Final World Olympic Qualification tournament in Baku, Azerbaijan this June. “But of course, he has to keep in shape,” said Picson.

Picson concedes that Fernandez was “outfoxed by the wily Kazakh who cleverly eluded Mario’s attacks.

“Good thing is, we have time to work on the kinks in our armor before the next qualifier and the Olympics itself come.”

Ladon fell short of a statement making win to cap the tournament when he settled for silver earlier in the day, losing a split decision to Uzbekistan’s Hasanboy Dusmatov. One judge saw it 29-28 for Ladon while the other two saw it by the same score for Dusmatov. 

Welterweight Eumir Marcial will be fighting for a spot in the Olympics in the 6 pm session when he faces Tuvshinbat Byamba of Mongolia, while Suarez faces Mongolia’s Otgondalai Dorjnyambuu in the finals. –

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