BANGKOK – The Philippine resumes its gallant campaign in the ASBC Asian Boxing Championships with two boxers seeing action in the semifinals Friday at the Thammasat University Gymnasium.
Light-flyweight Rogen Ladon, impressive in two victories over boxers from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, faces Gan-Erdene Gankhuyag of Mongolia in the semis after enjoying a rest day.
Welterweight Eumir Felix Marcial, who has made some heads turn in this Thai capital, eyes a fourth straight win when he tackles Suzuki Yasuhiro of Japan.
Ladon, who’s 21, and Marcial, only 19, represent the finest young boxers of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) under president Ricky Vargas.
By reaching the semis, Ladon and Marcial also qualified to the AIBA World Championships in Doha, Qatar in October. It’s a qualifying event for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Flyweight Ian Clark Bautista, who lost his quarterfinals match to Azat Usenaliev last Wednesday, can still make it to Doha if he lands in the top six of his division at the close of the competition here.
“So far, so good. We have two boxers in the semis and one with a chance of making it to Doha. We sent only five boxers here,” said ABAP executive director Ed Picson.
"Kaya natin yan (We can do it)," said head coach Pat Gaspi, assisted by Boy Velasco and 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games gold medalist Reynaldo Galido.
Marcial, a gold medalist in the 2011 World Junior (15-16 years) Championships and the reigning SEA Games champion in the 69 kg class, is on a hot streak here.
For his opening match, he outfought Uulo Erkinbek Bolotbrk of Kyrgyzstan. Then he stunned second seed Israil Madrimov of Uzbekistan.
The victory over the favored Uzbek set Marcial up for a clash with Thai veteran Saylom Ardee last Wedneday evening. Again, the Filipino pulled it off.
Marcial is fighting with lumps and bruises on his face and yet he slugged it out with the 29-year-old Thai, and scored a 2-1 victory.
The pride of Zamboanga rocked Saylom with a left straight in the opening round, and built his confidence in the second. He won both rounds.
In the third, the Thai waged an all-out assault, hoping to turn things around. A clash of heads left Marcial dazed and with another lump over his right eye.
“Beterano talaga. Magulang. Sobrang wais (He’s a veteran – witty and wise). Nahilo talaga ako sa (I was dazed) third round. Halos hindi ko na siya makita (I could barely see him),” said Marcial.
“Wala pa ako sa boxing lumalaban na yan. (I wasn’t into boxing yet and he was already fighting). Pero buhay pa tayo (I’m still in the running),” he added.
Marcial said he’s ready for his next fight.
“Hindi pa ito ang laro ko (I’m not in my best form yet),” he said.
Ladon also looked forward to his semis matchup with the boxer from Mongolia.
“Ready na po (I’m ready). Isa lang ang dapat gawin – maging aggressive (There’s only one thing to do – be aggressive),” he said.
“Mabuhay! All the way!” Vargas said in a text message to the boxers.
The finals in all 10 weight classes will be held Saturday.