Suarez, Ladon nail Rio Olympic spots
QIAN’AN, Hebei Province, China — Philippine boxing, proud and classy again, booked two tickets Thursday night to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August.
Veteran internationalist Charly Suarez and rising star Rogen Ladon won their semifinal bouts in style to barge into the gold-medal fights of the Asia-Oceania Qualifying—and, more importantly, earn spots in the Summer Games.
Suarez punished hometown bet Jun Shan in all three rounds on the way to a technical knockout victory in their 60-kilogram encounter.
Earlier Thursday, light flyweight Ladon whipped India’s Laishram Devendro Singh, 30-27 in the cards of all three judges to clinch an Olympic slot.
But bantamweight Mario Fernandez wasn’t as lucky, bowing to the highly regarded Butdee Chatchai of Thailand, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27.
Eumir Felix Marcial also fell to Uzbekistan’s Shakram Giyasov in their 69 kg semifinal bout.
Fernandez and Marcial, though, will square off with the other semifinal loser in their respective weight class for the third and last Olympic slot.
Five months after narrowly losing his shot at qualifying for the Rio de Janeiro during the world championships in Doha, Ladon again ended up in tears at Tangshan Sports Centre.
This time, however, they were tears of joy.
“I want to win the gold here,” the 22-year-old Ladon said in a statement released by the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines. “I’m seeded No. 1 here, so it’s only right that I win gold.”
The 2015 Southeast Asian Games silver medalist next faces Uzbekistan’s Hasanboy Dusmatov for the gold.
Dusmatov, the same man who denied Ladon in the finals of the 2015 ASBC Asian Confederation Boxing Championships, bested Mongolia’s Gankhuyag Gan-Erdene in the other semifinal bout.
Shut off from the world championships’ gold-medal bout after losing to Russian Vasili Egorov in the semifinals last October in Qatar, Ladon refused to fall into a trap laid by his crafty Indian foe.
“Rogen focused on boxing and did not allow himself to be baited into the clinching and infighting that his Indian foe wanted,” said Ed Picson, delegation head and executive director of Abap.
Unable to lure Ladon inside, Laisham lunged in desperation and got deducted a point in the second round for ducking.
The pride of Bago City, Negros Occidental, dissolved in tears after his victory. With a report from Marc Anthony Reyes
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