GUANGZHOU—Annie Albania and Victorio Saludar, waging battle in contrasting fashions, punched their way into the semifinals—and at least a couple more bronze medals for the Philippines—in yesterday’s exacting quarterfinals of the Asian Games boxing competitions.
Flyweight Albania, who breezed through her opening bout Sunday, fell behind after a cold, tentative start, but finished with a blitz of power punches for a sensational 7-2 win over North Korea’s Kim Hye-song, silver medalist in the Barbados World Boxing Championships.
The three-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist fights Japan’s Aya Shimmoto Wednesday and vowed not to make any statement until she has bagged the gold.
The 20-year-old Saludar fired sure shots right from the start before beating India’s Amandeep Singh, 6-1, to join elder brother Rey in the semifinals scheduled tomorrow.
Albania, fought her taller foe from the outside and had a shaky start as she got tagged with sharp rights to fall behind, 2-0, after two rounds.
Unlike Saludar, Albania had to make lateral cuts before she could connect with smashing rights to even up, 2-all.
She then charged with blinding rapid right smashes in the final round to pull away.
A third Filipino, welterweight Wilfredo Lopez, was to fight a rated Mongolian in the same card later in the evening, seeking another semifinal slot for the Philippines.
“Nagulat po ako, mas madali pa ito duon sa unang laban (I was surprised this was an easier fight than my first one),”
Saludar told the Inquirer on his way back to the dugout.
He said he was unable to observe his semifinal foe, Zhakypov Birzhan of Kazakhstan, but will study a video of his fight later.
In the semifinals, flyweight Rey Saludar clashes with another Japanese, Susa Katsuaki.
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