ALMATY, Kazakhstan – Bantamweight Mario Fernandez, with his lively feet and in-and-out moves, gave the PLDT-ABAP National boxing team its third win in four outings in the ongoing AIBA World Boxing Championships at the majestic Baluan Sholak Palace of Sports here.
Fernandez, shorter by about 4 inches than his opponent Imran Khan of Guyana, delivered 3 to 4 punch combos even as he steered clear of the punches of his long-armed foe, a two-time Guyanese national champion.
Two judges, from Lithuania and Morocco gave the 20-year-old native of Valencia, Bukidnon all three rounds with a score of 30-27, while the Greek judge had it 30-26, also for the Filipino.
Earlier, Roldan Boncales and Mark Anthony Barriga hurdled their initial assignments against their Guatemalan and Vietnamese rivals, respectively.
Dennis Galvan was not as fortunate, drawing the tournament #10 seed Gaybatullla Gadzhialiyev of Azerbaijan and losing the match on points.
Boncales sees action again Friday against North Korea's Ri Chung Il, who recently won gold in the tough Korotkov Memorial Tournament in Khabarovsk, Russia.
Barriga returns to the ring on Saturday versus No. 5 seed Yovani Vieira Soto of Cuba, also a London Olympian.
A total of 457 boxers from 100 countries entered the competition. Aside from PLDT, the Philippine Sports Commission also supported the team's trip to Kazakhstan.