PH boxer Rogen Ladon advances to gold-medal round
MANILA, Philippines – Filipino flyweight bet Rogen Ladon kept his gold medal hopes alive in the 2018 Asian Games with a unanimuos decision victory against Thailand's Yuttapong Tongdee in the semifinal round on Friday, August 31 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Ladon, a Rio de Janeiro Olympian, did just what his coaches instructed him to do – and innovating on some of his punches – to score the lopsided victory, 5-0, that kept the Philippine delegation on its feet bracing for another celebration before the Games end on Sunday.
“In the first round, I tried to get the feel of his (Thai) strategy and come second round, my jab-straights found their marks,” said Ladon.
The 24-year-old Ladon will fight for the gold against Uzbekistan's Jasurbek Latipov at 3:15 pm (Philippine time) on Saturday, September 1.
Latipov eliminated Kyrgyzstan’s Azat Uzenaliev, 4-1, in the other semifinal bout at the Jakarta International Expo Boxing Hall.
“I sort of confused the Thai by changing Rogen’s style in the first round,” men’s head coach Ronald Chavez said. “The instruction was to tease the opponent with his right and deliver the left straight.”
“In the first round alone, we knew Rogen had the Thai under control,” Chavez added.
Both fighters came out swinging by the opening bell. Tongdee was downed in the first but it was deemed a slip. Ladon was also downed in the second round, but in what looked like a wrestling throw from Tongdee.
Ladon sustained a cut with 1:57 left in Round 3, but this only served as fuel for more clean combos and jabs from the Filipino.
After getting wrestled to the ground yet again in the final 15 seconds, Ladon got up and spent the last seconds taunting his Thai foe.
Alliance of Boxing Associations in the Philippines (ABAP) secretary general Ed Picson praised Ladon for having made full use of his experience.
“Rogen is a veteran of the World Championships and the Olympics. And he showed everybody how it is to be a veteran of those tournaments,” Picson said.
“He established control because of his composure,” added Picson, who revealed that a Thai boxing official approached him and virtually conceded the fight to Ladon.
“It’s a perfect decision for Rogen to go up in weight – he kept on winning silvers at 49 kgs, so we told him ‘enough of those silvers,'” he added.
Against the Uzbek, both Chavez and Picson said they expect a thrilling fight between southpaws. But Ladon, they said, would be more comfortable against a fellow left-hander.
“The Uzbek is a fighter, too. But he can't take Rogen for granted,” Picson said. “Rogen is more determined. And he promised all of us to get the gold.”
Prior to the bout, Ladon defeated Kazakh boxer Azat Mametov by a hair in a 3-2 split decision to secure at least a bronze medal.
Ladon also made quick work of Nepal’s Prem Chaudhary in the preliminaries to set up the Mametov bout.