MANILA, Philippines – Five more Filipino boxers staked their claims for an opportunity to vie for a gold medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games boxing competition on Sunday, December 8 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
James Palicte, the younger brother of former world title contender Aston Palicte, clinched a finals berth by outpointing Thai slugger Atichai Phoemsap in the semifinal round of the light welterweight tournament.
Palicte enforced his aggressiveness on his Thai opponent right off the bat, enabling him to string together three-punch combinations and land his signature left hook with consistency.
Both men engaged in rough phone-booth exchanges in the final round, but after 9 minutes of fast-paced trades of harrowing blows, it was Palicte who was awarded the majority decision victory.
Two-time SEA Games gold medalist Charly Suarez scored a knockdown in the 1st round and a standing eight-count in the 3rd en route to a clear-cut unanimous decision versus Vietnam's Vu Thanh Dat in the lightweight semifinals.
Suarez constantly mounted the pressure from start to finish, operating behind his patented right hand that dazed Vu Thanh Dat on numerous occasions over the course of 3 rounds.
His relentless attacks proved too much for the Vietnamese stalwart as the 31-year-old Sawata, Davao del Norte native walked away with all 5 of the judges' favor.
Meanwhile, the flyweight gold medal is now within Olympian Rogen Ladon's reach as he scored a shutout unanimous decision win against Singaporean Hamid Mohamed in the semifinals.
It was mostly a tactical battle between the two flyweights, but Ladon proved busier and more effective with his combinations of counter punches.
Mohamed, Singapore's last hope for a gold medal in boxing, tried his best to cope in the swapping of blows and kept the bout competitive by surging forward. However, Ladon was just a step ahead at every juncture.
In the end, all 5 judges scored the bout in favor of the Pinoy ring tactician, whose mission is to capture his first gold medal in the regional meet.
Filipina boxer Riza Pasuit had the hometown crowd on their feet after scoring an exciting majority decision win over Indonesia's Huswatun Hasanah in the women's semifinal round.
Hasanah was able to dictate the pace of the bout in the first two frames, roughening her Filipino foe in close quarters. But Pasuit rallied in the 3rd round, delivering the more precise shots.
After 3 rounds of action, it was Pasuit who became the recipient of the approval of 4 of the 5 judges at ringside.
Her fellow female pugilist Irish Magno kicked things off for the Philippines, accomplishing a 4-1 majority decision victory over Thailand's Jutamas Jitpong to advance to the women's flyweight finals – Rappler.com