FILIPINO national team member Charly Suarez scored a smashing victory in his first outing with the Italia Thunder (formerly known as the Milano Thunder) in the first day of the 2012-2013 Season of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) at the Mediolanum Forum Assago in Milan Saturday.
Suarez outboxed and outwitted Robert Harutyunyan of Germany, 23, in five rounds of their lightweight match (61 kg). Teams are allowed to have boxers from other countries as part of their line-up. Last season, Suarez fought for the Mumbai Fighters (India). The Indian franchise took a leave this season.
The 24 year-old Davao native dominated the entire bout, using his hand speed and slick footwork to score with sharp combinations in contrast with his much taller opponent who could only counter with single shots, many of which Suarez was able to elude.
A vicious left hook opened a nasty cut above Harutyunyan’s right eye in the fourth round.
Curiously, one of the judges, Danish Lars Brovil saw the fight in Harutyunyan's favor, 49-46. The two other judges also had the same score in favor of Suarez, resulting in the split decision. Brovil owns the dubious distinction of refereeing the controversial USA-India fight in the recent London Olympics, whose result was overturned for his failure to call several fouls in the fight.
Part of the huge crowd was composed of expat Filipinos working in the Italian city. They came in full force, waving Philippine flags and cheering lustily for Suarez regularly breaking out in chants of "Charly, Charly!".
In an email to ABAP executive director Ed Picson, Suarez thanked "Chair Manny V. Pangilinan, President Ricky Vargas, Sec-Gen Patrick Gregorio and all my fellow boxers and coaches in the PLDT-ABAP Team. If not for them, I couldn't have gotten here."
The WSB is organized by AIBA ( the International Boxing Association) and its format is five rounds of three minutes each, and does away wth the headguards and singlets which are trade marks of Olympic style boxing. Because of this, many see the league as part of AIBA's preparation for the launch of it's professional boxing venture next year, the APB (AIBA Professional Boxing).
The rules allow Suarez to return to the Philippine national team whenever there is a tournament where his services are needed. Picson says Suarez is looking forward to fighting for the country in the SEA Games next year.
Suarez has declined several juicy offers for him to turn professional, saying "I still want to fight in the Olympics for my country. I am aiming for a slot in Rio de Janeiro in 2016."
He missed going to London by a hair, losing in the finals of the Asian Olympic Qualifying tournament in Kazakhstan to China's Qiang Liu to settle for the silver medal. Only the gold medalist in their division was accommodated for the Olympiad.