Daniel Maamo hurdles opening round foe in AIBA World Championships debut
Daniel Maamo (second from left) with coach Ronald Chavez, teammate Rogen Ladon, and coach Nolito Velasco in the 17th AIBA World Championships in Hamburg, Germany.

HAMBURG, Germany – Daniel Maamo hurdled his first round assignment in the 17th AIBA World Championships at the Sporthalle here following a split decision win over Mahomed Otukile of Botswana in the 52 kg, division (flyweight) Saturday night.

Fighting in his world championship debut, Maamo advanced to the next round where he will be pitted against Cuban Yosbani Veitia, who drew a bye on opening day.

A southpaw, the 25-year-old Veitia was a silver medalist in the 2015 edition of the same world meet held in Doha, Qatar.

Maamo and his highly-toute Cuban foe slug it out in the round of 16 on Monday.

The Filipino was clearly outgunned in the first round and even halfway into the second on the strength of Otukile’s crisp combinations but knowing that the fight was slipping away, Maamo rallied behind his left hook and body punching.

“Magaling ang timing kaya’t lagi ako tinataaman,” said Maamo after the bout.

National coach Ronald Chavez wasn’t totally satisfied and he didn’t mince words in scolding Maamo.

“Nagpapatama ka kasi eh,” said Chavez, adding that he can’t do the same thing against Veitia.

Meanwhile, Olympian Rogen Ladon clashes with a brash Kazakhstan puncher when he makes his debut Sunday.

Kazakh Zhomart Yerzhan earned a berth in the round-of-16 after beating Michael Tello Tello of Guatemala via unanimous decision in the biennial slugfest that drew the participation of 243 boxers from almost 80 countries.

Yerzhan, 24, easily got rid of the Central American entry by banking on his potent left hand that struck Tello’s body and head with regularity.

While Tello was not in trouble of going down, Yerzhan made it sure there would be no questions on the mind of the five judges that included Filipino Cildo Evasco.

National coaches Nolito ‘Boy’ Velasco and Chavez were at ringside to check out Yerzhan, a year older at 24 but one they described as beatable.

“Kaya yan,” said Chavez, who took a video on his smartphone of Yerzhan’s victory before heading back to the Filipinos’ hotel in the city center.

But Velasco likewise echoed Chavez’s sentiments about Ladon becoming too complacent.

“Huwag lang magkumpyansa,” said Velasco, who has also acted as the team leader for the Philippines here while it awaits the arrival of Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines executive director Ed Picson from Manila.

Picson will make it in time for Ladon’s showdown with Yerzhan as he is expected to touch down here a few hours before the bell.

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The Philippine Sports Commission is throwing its all-out support to Ladon and Maamo’s bid of returning home victorious.

PSC chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez is urging the two to go for broke in their respective bids as the entire country is fully behind them.

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