Boxing: Saludar edges Japanese foe, Bacho falls in Asian championship
MANILA, Philippines — The PLDT-ABAP Philippine team got off to a shaky start with South Cotabato native Rey Saludar escaping his Japanese foe and Joel Bacho bowing out early in the 27th Asian Men’s championship held in Amman, Jordan.
Saludar, the 2010 Asian Games gold medalist, fashioned out a 30-27, 28-29 and 30-27 decision over Japanese Hayashida Syota.
Bacho came close to following up Saludar’s win but fell short — losing steam after a strong start as he yielded to Japan’s Hiroki Inoue, 28-29, on the three judges’ scorecards.
The 24-year-old Saludar came out aggressive and scored on lightning quick crosses that got his younger opponent thinking twice.
Japan’s reigning national flyweight champion, though, saw some openings and battled back in the latter part of the bout with his timely counter-punching to earn the nod of one judge.
The PH team, a mix of veteran and young talents, is composed of newly-minted China Open silver medalist Junel Cantancio (lightweight), substitute Rogen Ladon (light flyweight), who filled in for the injured Mark Anthony Barriga, and Kuala Lumpur City gold medalist Mario Fernandez (bantamweight).
“Our strength lies in both our veterans and young finds,” said ABAP (Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines) president Ricky Vargas. “But this early, our grassroots products have to be exposed to the international arena in preparation for the bigger tournaments ahead.”