ALMATY, Kazakhstan – PLDT-ABAP national boxers Rey Saludar and Charly Suarez fell short in their gold medal bids after dropping their championship bouts in the President’s Cup here.
Suarez knocked down Asian lightweight champion Berik Abdrahmanov of Kazakhstan in the third round with a wicked right hook that landed flush on the mouth but still lost a questionable decision.
Abdrahmanov went down in a heap and was given an eight count by the referee and got up at the count of four, still wobbly. He tried to engage gamely, but instead got tagged repeatedly by Suarez's bombs until the bell gave him a reprieve.
"That bell rang suspiciously early'" rued coach Elmer Pamisa. "We never even heard the 10-second clapper to signify that the round was about to end."
What was even more shocking was that the decision was unanimous for the Kazakh with the judges from Russia and Ukraine scoring it 29-28 and a judge from the Kazakh region of Shymkent submitting a tally sheet of 30-27, all for Abdrahmanov.
Saludar also looked like he had outpunched his Uzbek opponent Zoirov but likewise suffered a unanimous decision defeat, 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27.
Lessons were learned even in defeat, however.
"We came here to gauge our strengths and weaknesses and to aid us in our decision on our final lineup for the Asian Games. Saludar and Suarez both had four tough fights in six days. I think we achieved our objectives", said ABAP executive director Ed Picson, who headed the delegation here.
Another batch of Asiad aspirants arrived in Guiyang, China for the equally strong China Open which starts Monday.