PH boxers Bautista, Fernandez, Marcial cruise at 2017 SEA Games
MANILA, Philippines – Defending gold medalists Ian Clark Bautista, Mario Fernandez, and Eumir Marcial leapt over their opening day hurdles to give the Philippines a 3-0 start in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games preliminaries on Sunday, August 20.
Bautista had to overcome a determined challenge from Malaysia’s Abdul Salam Bin Kasim, plus the roars and boos of the hometown crowd, in the flyweight quarterfinals, but still had enough experience and class to take a 5-0 decision.
The heavy-punching 22-year-old from Binalbagan, Negros Occidental imposed himself from the opening bell against the 20-year-old Kasim, and was able to defend effectively when Kasim attempted to counterpunch. Bautista was not able to get in his counter left hook, his preferred weapon, as much as he would have liked but did his best damage with body punching and overhand rights.
Fernandez of Valencia, Bukidnon looked every bit like the two-time defending champion as he backed up and stopped Myanmar's Maung Nge, a 2013 silver medalist and 2015 bronze medalist, in the first round.
Nge appeared intimidated by his larger rival, remaining in his defensive shell against the onslaught of Fernandez, who dug hard to the body before an uppercut-left hook combination wobbled Nge and forced a referee's stoppage.
Marcial had little trouble against Vietnam's Nguyen Manh Cuong, battering the slow-footed big man around the ring to a unanimous decision. Marcial scored a knockdown in the first round and used his quicker hands to paint Cuong's head and body with hard punches from both sides.
The 21-year-old Marcial from Zamboanga City won the welterweight gold in Singapore two years ago but is competing at middleweight after Malaysian organizers abolished the welterweight class.
Fernandez will face Vietnam's Tran Phu Cuong on Monday, August 21, in the quarterfinals while Bautista faces Thailand's Tanes Ogjunta in Tuesday's semifinals.
Marcial also returns on Tuesday with a semifinal match against Malaysia's Indran Ramakrishnan, who defeated Timor Leste's Henrique Martins Borges Pereira after the referee stopped the fight due to a cut in his quarterfinal match.
The rest of the Filipino boxers will see action on Monday. Light heavyweight John Marvin, a Filipino-British boxer who also fights for the British Army, faces Cambodia's Felix Merlin Martinez in his quarterfinal match, while light welterweight Charly Suarez, a two-time SEA Games gold medalist and 2016 Olympian, will fight in the SEAG for the first time in 6 years against Malaysia's Khir Akyazlan Azmi in a quarterfinal matchup.
Carlo Paalam, the youngest Pinoy boxer at the tournament, will have to overcome the hometown crowd when he faces Muhammad Fuad Redzuan in the light flyweight quarterfinals on Monday.
Other notable results from Sunday were Thai Olympians Chatchai Butdee and Wuttichai Masuk, who were dominant in their first bouts. Butdee dropped and battered Malaysia’s Arfiqanie Ahmad Anshori in their bantamweight fight but somehow only managed a split-decision win on the scorecards.
Masuk, a 2014 Asian Games gold medalist, used his Cambodian foe Phal Sophon like a yo-yo, dropping him multiple times before the ref stopped the fight.
Butdee is bracketed in such a way that he wouldn’t face Fernandez until the gold medal match while Masuk wouldn’t face Suarez until the final as well. – Rappler.com