Pinoys Pangga, Dela Peña win gold at Asian Juniors Boxing Championship
MANILA, Philippines - Fans in Palawan got a sneak peak at the future of the Philippine national boxing team as teenagers John Vincent Pangga and Kenneth Dela Peña earned gold at the ASBC Asian Juniors Boxing Championships on Monday, August 6.
The 15-year-old Pangga refused to take a punch for an answer as he earned a 4-1 points verdict over Sarawut Sukhtet of Thailand for the flyweight gold medal, while Dela Peña, 16, defeated Kazakh Akilbek Mukhtarov by another 4-1 decision for the top honors of the pinweight division at City Coliseum in Puerto Princesa.
Pangga of Cagayan de Oro City controlled the fight from midrange, landing counters from the southpaw stance when Sukhtet lunged forward. Both Sukhtet and the referee were sent down in the first round as Pangga’s right hand clipped the Thai on a right hook.
Sukhtet made the adjustment of becoming more physical in the second round to disrupt the Filipino’s poise. Sukhtet landed a small shot on the break and was cautioned to listen for the referee’s instructions, but he was the more effective fighter in close.
Pangga took the play back in the third, switching to the aggressor to make an impression on his opponent and the judges, but keeping just enough space to land his right hook.
Dela Peña had a puzzling foe of his own to deal with as Mukhtarov’s masterful balance enabled him to exploit Pangga whenever he came in too wide with his shots. Matters evened out in the final 10 seconds of the first round as a counter left hand stunned the Kazakh and left him vulnerable 3 more which landed in a span of 8 seconds.
Mukhtarov came out with a fury in the second, unleashing 7 right uppercuts to the body in close to slow down his mobile opponent. But it was General Santos City's Dela Peña who made the biggest impact in that round, scoring a standing 8 count a minute into the second when one of his left crosses knocked his opponent’s head back. It didn’t get any easier for the rest of the round as the two traded blows.
The battle for gold reached a fever pitch in the third as Mukhtarov unloaded his most determined assault of the fight, backing Dela Peña to the ropes and unleashing a flurry before a Dela Peña left knocked back Mukhtarov’s head again to buy him some space. The early lead was enough to carry Dela Peña to the victory.
Two other Filipino boxers, Criz Russu Laurente and Norlan Petecio, also competed in the tournament but lost in the preliminaries. – Rappler.com