5 Filipino boxers advance to Olympic Qualifier quarterfinals
MANILA, Philippines - Five Filipino boxers have advanced to the quarterfinals stage while one was defeated at the Asian-Oceanian Olympic Boxing Qualifying tournament at Tangshan Jiujiang Sports Center in Qian’An, China.
Eumir Felix Marcial, Rogen Ladon, and Mario Fernandez joined Charly Suarez and Nesthy Petecio in the quarterfinals with contrasting wins on Monday, March 29. Only the top 3 boxers in the men’s weight classes and the top two in the women’s categories will advance to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil this August.
Marcial, one of the 3 Filipino top seeds including Ladon and Suarez, scored an impressive victory over Australian Kori Istafanos in the third round. While Istafanos looked imposing with his muscular physique, he played a game of tag with Marcial apparently aware of the destructive power in the Filipino’s fists. But Marcial rocked Istafanos that Veronika Szuchs, the Hungarian referee, issued two mandatory standing eight-counts the last of which she signaled the end to the fight and the Filipino the winner.
Ladon on the other hand had a more difficult time as he had his hands full with Japanese counterpart Tosho Kashiwasaki. Ladon, who won a bronze medal in last year’s World Boxing Championships in Doha, Qatar, eked out a pair of 29-28 scores to go with a more comfortable 30-27 score from a third judge.
“Ma-diskarte yung kalaban,” noted Ladon post-match. “Mautak. Salamat at tayo’y nagwagi."
(My opponent was clever. Smart. Am thankful that I triumphed at the end).
Fernandez, another of the Philippine contingent’s bemedalled pugilists, overwhelmed Turkmenistan’s Yakub Meredov with lethal left-right combinations to score identical 30-27 scores from all 3 judges.
The only blot in the Philippines’ campaign was Roldan Boncales' shocking loss to Kazakhstan’s Oizhas Sattibayev in a flyweight match. In a close and intense battle, the judges deemed the latter the winner with a pair of 29-28 cards and 30-27 for another.
In a quick conversation with Rappler, a disappointed Boncales thought that he won the match. “Akala ko ako yung mananalo. Ginawa ko na lahat pero hindi napunta sa akin yung desisyon (I thought I won the match and I did everything I could)."
There will be no rest for the Filipinos as they retake the ring today, Tuesday March 29. Today's quarterfinals will see the 5 remaining RP boxers in action: Ladon will go up against Iraq’s Shakir Hassan Ali Al-Kaabi, Fernandez will trade punches with Jordan’s Mohammed Abdelaziz al-Wadi, Suarez will battle India’s Dheeraj Rangi, Marcial takes on Sajjad Kazemzadeh Poshtiri while Petecio is in for a fight against India’s Mery Kom Hmangte, who is a 5-time world champion.
“We’re happy to be in this stage of the tournament,” noted ABAP Executive Director Ed Picson in a message from China. “Of course, I would have been delighted for all 6 boxers to advance but that’s sports. If we get two more wins for the remaining boxers then we’re going to Rio."
Picson reiterated to the boxers ABAP president Ricky Vargas' pledge that if they qualify they will not only receive incentives but will be given more extensive training and support in the run up to the Olympics. – Rappler.com