INCHEON, Korea — Middleweight Wilfredo Lopez and light flyweight Mark Anthony Barriga barged into the semifinals of the 17th Asian Games boxing competitions at the Seonhak Gymnasium on Tuesday, assuring the Philippines of at least two more medals.
Lopez scored a technical knockout victory over Mongolia's Shinebayar Narmandakh in the first round of their quarterfinal bout while compatriot Barriga beat Hasanov Dusmatov of Uzbekistan by split decision.
Lopez and Barriga are now assured of bronze medals along with Mario Fernandez and Charly Suarez, as the Filipino boxing contingent provided a glimmer of hope to a struggling Philippine contingent that has yet to strike gold.
A left hook by Lopez sent Narmandakh sprawling to the canvas, with the referees stopping the bout at 2:05 left in the first round.
It was a close call for Barriga, a 2012 Olympian who survived Dustamov after the Italian and Canadian judges scored the fight in favor of the Filipino, 29-28. A Korean judge had Dustamov winning, 28-29.
Lopez will next face Odai Riyad Adel of Jordan in the semifinal round. Barriga, on the other hand, will have a tougher task in the final four as he takes on hometown bet Shin Jonghun of Korea, who finished fifth in the Guangzhou Asiad four years ago.
Controversy has shrouded the Asian Games competition after Filipino boxing officials felt that Pinoy bet Ian Clark Bautista lost his bout to his Korean opponent via a questionable hometown decision.