PH sends 7 boxers to gold-medal tiffs
NAYPYITAW—The Philippine boxing team looked poised to surpass its previous four-gold haul after five more fighters, led by Olympian Mark Barriga, reached the finals Friday in the 27th Southeast Asian Games at Wunna Theikdi Stadium here.
Except for Rey Saludar’s surprise loss to a Burmese fighter in what was described by the PH delegation head as a hometown decision, the men’s team pulled through as expected, jacking up the number of Filipinos in Saturday’s finals to seven, two fewer than top rival Thailand’s nine.
In a match that was more lopsided than what the judges’ scores indicated, Barriga beat Mohd Faud Mohd Reuvan of Malaysia by split decision, 30-27, 28-29, 30-27, to reach the light flyweight finals.
But a promising start took a twist when Saludar, the 2010 Asian Games flyweight gold medalist, lost to Mg Nge of Myanmar, 28-29, 27-30, 28-29, much to the chagrin of team officials.
“It was a hometown decision,” said Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines executive director Ed Picson.
The PH pugs quickly got back on track with bantamweight Mario Fernandez, lightweight Junel Cantancio, light welterweight Dennis Galvan and welterweight Wilfredo Lopez assuring the country of at least a silver just like featherweight Nesthy Petecio and light flyweight Josie Gabuco in the women’s category.
A relentless Fernandez crushed Tran Quoc Viet of Vietnam, 29-28, 30-27, 30-27, while Cantancio, showing guile and experience, prevailed over Muhamad Ridhawan Ahmad of Singapore, 29-28, 30-27, 30-27.
Galvan barely survived Ericok Amonupunyo of Indonesia, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28, while Lopez, using his reach to score heavily on counterpunches, recovered from a lethargic first round to frustrate Alex Tatantos of Indonesia, 29-28, 29-28, 28-29.
Cantancio, Fernandez and Galvan will be facing Thai foes in the finals, while Lopez and Petecio will duel Myanmar boxers. Barriga and Gabuco will be up against Indonesian foes.
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