5 pugs gain Rio boxing qualifier last 8 | Inquirer Sports
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5 pugs gain Rio boxing qualifier last 8

10:13 PM March 29, 2016

QIAN’AN, Hebei Province, China—Welterweight Eumir Felix Marcial, light flyweight Rogen Ladon and bantamweight Mario Fernandez outpunched their respective foes on Monday and joined two other Filipino boxers in the quarterfinals of the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying Event at Tangshan Jiujiang Sports Center here.

The top-ranked Marcial lived up to his billing by scoring a TKO victory in the third and last round over Kori Istafanos of Australia.

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Ladon, the Bago City fighter who is also ranked No. 1 in his weight class, thwarted a furious rally by his Japanese opponent, Tosho Kashiwasaki, to escape with a 29-28, 29-28, 30-27 decision.

Back-to-back Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Fernandez proved too much for Turkmenistan’s Yakub Meredov to prevail via three 30-27 scores.

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Marcial, Fernandez and Ladon, a bronze medalist in the World Championships in Doha last year, made the last eight along with lightweight Charly Suarez and female lightweight Nesthy Petecio in the continental tournament that rewards the men’s medalists and the top two women in each class automatic spots in the coming Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Suarez whipped Chinese Taipei’s Lai Chu-en, 30-26, 30-26, 30-26, while Petecio battered Micronesia’s Jennifer Chieng, 40-36, 40-26, 40-35, on Sunday.

Marcial unloaded several power punches on the muscular Aussie, a transplanted Sudanese, in the third round, prompting Hungarian female referee Veronika Szuchs to issue a standing 8-count.

Szuchs waved Istafanos off after a second standing 8-count later in the round.

Flyweight Roldan Boncales Jr. became the tournament’s first Filipino casualty after bowing to fourth seed Oizhas Sattibayev of Kazakhstan, 28-29, 28-29, 27-30. Boncales had won his first assignment against a Vietnamese foe on Saturday.

Tuesday’s quarterfinals will see the five Filipino fighters in action with Ladon battling Al-Kaabi of Iraq, Fernandez taking on Alwadi of Jordan, Suarez clashing with Dheeraj of India, Marcial facing Kazemzadehposhtiri of Iran and Petecio challenging five-time world champion Mery Kom Hmangte of India.

“This is where we wanted to be at this juncture,” said Ed Picson, executive director of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (Abap). “At least two more wins for each boxer will get them slots to Rio.”

Abap president Ricky Vargas had earlier pledged cash incentives and extensive training for boxers who will qualify for the Olympics.

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