‘We may have lost, but not our Filipino pride’ – ABAP head
LONDON – The president of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) deplored the decision of the competition jury of the boxing competition of the 30th Olympic Games to reject the Philippine appeal to review the fight between light flyweight Mark Barriga and Kazakhstan’s Birzhan Zhakypov.
“It seems in the battle of ‘giants’ justice is more difficult to attain for a small country like ours,” said ABAP head Ricky Vargas in a statement Sunday.
Barriga’s brief run in the Olympic Games ended on the canvas on Saturday when he lost a heartbreaking 16-17 decision to Zhakypov.
It was close, but it was the referee who decided the match when he penalized Barriga for headbutting midway through the decisive third round. Philippine officials decided to file a protest right after the match for biased officiating a bane that has hounded the boxing competition in the London Olympics.
Barriga was leading by two points going into the third round and he had outfought the Kazakh for two and half rounds when referee Roland Labbe of Canada imposed the penalty.
The Kazakh had wrestled Barriga into exhaustion in the third round as the Filipino lost steam in the middle of the fateful round, Barriga ducked under his opponent’s punches and was again wrestled down.
That was when the referee charged him with headbutting.
The full statement of ABAP:
“It was a painful experience to witness Mark Anthony Barriga, a young and promising boxer who worked so hard and fought with a big heart only to lose due to a controversial call by the referee which gave two bonus points to his much taller opponent.
“We felt we owed it to Mark to place the fight under protest, to fight for him as he fought for us. Unfortunately, the Competition Jury did not entertain it, not even reviewing the tape of the fight.
“It seems in the battle of ‘giants’ justice is more difficult to attain for a small country like ours.
“Despite this painful experience, we will persevere and work even harder to achieve our Olympic quest.
“We may have lost a boxing match in London, but definitely NOT our Filipino pride.”