MANILA, Philippines – Bantamweight Mario Fernandez took the ring immediately after his compatriot Ian Clark Bautista dominated his flyweight gold medal match against a Singaporean foe, only to escape with a split-decision victory.
Not leaving anything to chance, Fernandez solidified his superiority over his Thai foe, knocking out Tanes Ongjunta at 2:15 of the third round to win his second consecutive Southeast Asian Games gold medal in Singapore.
Fernandez, 21, of Valencia City, Bukidnon, Philippines dropped Ongjunta once in the first round on a left hook before finishing him off with a perfectly timed counter left hook that made the Thai’s knees buckle awkwardly before collapsing.
Mario Fernandez’s knockout of Tanes Ongjunta
The knockout was Fernandez’s second straight of the tournament, after he knocked his Myanmar foe down twice in the first round before the referee halted the bout with two seconds remaining in the opening stanza.
Fernandez’s win was one of 5 boxing gold medal victories for the Philippines, which surpassed Myanmar and Indonesia in the gold medal count today. The 5 gold medal haul is the largest the Philippines has had in boxing since the 2009 SEA Games, when they took him 5 in Laos.
Bautista, 20, halted a 3-match losing streak by the Philippines to earn the Philippine team its second gold of the day with a win over Mohamed Hanurdeen Hamid of Singapore.
The Binalbagan, Negros Occidental native rocked Hamid, 21, repeatedly with left hooks, forcing him to grab and move to buy time. Hamid tried to counter back but already had a swollen shut left eye after the first round.
That one judge could find a way to award Hamid the fight was derided as hometown favoritism by some social media observers.
“The judges thought it was a cooking show so they prepared something,” tweeted @LesterMarcos.
Welterweight Eumir Marcial, unlike Bautista, had no such drama with his Singaporean foe, knocking out Jia Wey Tay with 48 seconds remaining in the second round. Marcial, 19, of Lunzuran, Zamboanga City walked his inexperienced foe down, fought with his hands down at his sides at times while taunting with a smile.
The referee stopped the bout after Marcial knocked him down with a left cross.
“I think it was my lucky punch. I am so happy because this is my first SEA Games and I have a gold medal,” said Marcial.
“Hopefully if I maintain my discipline and work hard, I can qualify. But it will be difficult because I need to go through many steps to qualify for the Olympics.”
Eumir Marcial’s knockout of Jia Wey Tay
Bautista’s win in the flyweight category was followed by men’s lightweight Junel Cantancio winning a unanimous decision over Van Hai Nguyen of Vietnam. Earlier in the day, women’s light flyweight Josie Gabuco won her fourth straight SEA Games gold medal with a 3-0 win over Chuthamat Raksat of Thailand.
Women’s flyweights Irish Magno and bantamweight Nesthy Petecio fell short to Vietnamese foes by split-decision while Rogen Ladon lost a split verdict to Kornelis Kwangu Langu in the men’s light flyweight final. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com
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