THE Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines' protest over the two point deductions meted on Filipino Mark Anthony Barriga in his round-of-16 match against Birzhan Zhakypov of Kazakhstan was junked by the International Boxing Federation (Aiba).
Team Philippines put the outcome under protest, claiming Canadian referee Roland Labbe erred in giving a warning to Barriga for excessive ducking a little over a minute into the third round, which meant a two-point plus for the Kazakh fighter.
About half an hour after filing the protest and paying $500, PH officials received a bad news as the board of jury decided to throw out the protest, claiming "it (the protest) was subjective and not based on technicality."
"They (the board of jury) made the decision even without watching the tape of the bout,’’ said Picson, bitter at the result and fuming mad at the stands as the ref raised the hand of the Kazakh at the end of the close encounter.
The warning came at a bad time for Barriga. He was leading by two points (10-8) going into the third round when he was slapped a warning, something that seemed to have taken the fight out of the brave Pinoy pug.
"Parang nawalan na ako ng gana ng mabigyan ako ng warning,’’ Barriga told a Team PH official at the Athletes Village, turning serious after trading jokes in their Cebuano dialect with teammate Marestella Torres and London-based therapist Ester Latog.
"Kung hindi sa warning, sa akin na sana yun. Wala pang tatlong caution, binigyan na niya agad ako (warning). Sayang,’’ added Mark, who was later treated to a dinner by amateur boxing officials led by ABAP president Ricky Vargas.
In a statement,Vargas said “it was a painful experience Barriga, a young and promising boxer who worked so hard and fought with a big heart only to lose due to a controversial call by the referee who gave two bonus points to his opponent’.
“We felt we owed it to Mark to place the fight under protest, to fight for him as he fought for us. Unfortunately, the jury did not entertain it, not even reviewing the tape of the fight. It seems in the battle of ‘giants,’ justice is more difficult to attain for a small country like ours,’’ Vargas continued.
PH chief of mission and former Abap chief Manny Lopez said: "Things like giving warning in the closing seconds of a close match should not be made. It’s a pity the ref did it to the disadvantage of Mark.’’
On the other hand, former Olympic silver medalist Mansueto `Onyok’ Velasco believes it was a simple case of Barriga losing steam in the third round.
Velasco, the last Filipino to win an Olympic medal in the 1996 Atlanta Games, said the 19-year-old obviously got tired after posting a 10-8 lead through two rounds.