KIEV, Ukraine – The PLDT-ABAP campaign skidded to a halt on the third day of the Aiba Junior World Boxing Championships as the last two Filipino boys both dropped their assignments at the Kiev Sports Palace in this cosmopolitan Eastern European capital.
Mike Angelo Plania, 16, (bantamweight, 54 kgs) tried to neutralize Puerto Rican Henry Lebron Jr.'s height and reach advantage with some quick in-and-out moves. But the lanky Latino, touted as the best Puerto Rican here, came to the fight well prepared, meeting the Gensan lad's incursions with well-placed hooks and uppercuts.
Plania had some good moments, especially in the second round when he changed tactics and went to the body. The judges gave him that round but Lebron adjusted in the third to take the decision.
Paul Gilbertn Galagnao,15, faced a tough opponent in Hungary's Istvan Szaka in their light bantamweight (52 kgs) match. The Cagayan de Oro native stayed with his more experienced foe, taking some and giving some. But the judges gave weight to the poise and studied moves of the Hungarian who received a unanimous decision win.
ABAP executive director Ed Picson said the young boxers got the exposure and experience they came for but added he would prefer a different outcome.
“It would have been nice if we had a better draw so they could have fought more,” said Picson. “Still we've gotten a lot of offers for sparring. We're taking on all comers so they will get those fights. The fact that we were sought out by other teams says something about our boxers."
The other members of the developmental PLDT-ABAP team were Cebu's Hipolito Banal Jr. and Jayson Daming also from CDO. Coaches were former Olympians Ronald Chavez and Romeo Brin.