2 PH boxing silvers in the bag
Puerto Princesa—Rising star Kenneth dela Peña and accomplished amateur John Vincent Pangga posted contrasting semifinals victories Sunday, assuring the Philippines of at least two silver medals in the ASBC Asian Juniors Boxing Championships at Puerto Princesa City Coliseum.
Just one year into the sport, Dela Peña flaunted speed and skill in trouncing Chinese Taipei’s Yu Chen-Ching, 5-0, in their pinweight (44-46kg) tussle.
An eight-year ring veteran, Pangga had to weather Kazakhstan’s Talgat Syrymbetov’s last-round assault to tally a 3-2 victory in the flyweight (50kg) category.
The 16-year-old Dela Peña, a Grade 10 student from General Santos City, landed unanswered punches on the Taiwanese’ face for a standing eight-count near the end of the third and final round that highlighted his vast improvement since bagging the silver medal in last year’s Batang Pinoy.
Only 15 but already a four-time Batang Pinoy and 2016 Palarong Pambansa champion, Pangga connected with a left-right combination on Syrymbetov in the first round to force a standing eight-count.
It turned out to be the deciding factor as the Kazakh national junior champion turned aggressor and had the fading Pangga on the retreat in the third round.
A southpaw, Dela Peña, who idolizes World Boxing Organization super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko, will tangle with another Kazakhstan pug, Akilbek Mukhtarov, for the gold in Monday’s finals.
Mukhtarov routed Uzbekistan’s Mukhammadmuso Abdurakhmonov, 5-0.
Pangga, also a left-hander from Cagayan de Oro City, will battle Thailand’s Sarawut Sukthet, a 5-0 winner over Kyrgystan’s Murtarbek Ibraimov.
The twin victories provided a warm welcome for Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines president Ricky Vargas.
“These boys are talented and determined to make the country proud,” said Vargas.
The Philippines fielded only four bets in the 18-nation event confined to 15 and 16 years old and supported by Palawan Gov. Jose Ch. Alvarez, Philippine Sports Commission, MVP Sports Foundation, Smart, Maynilad, PLDT, Wesing, Meralco, Philippine Airlines and San Miguel Corporation.
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