MANILA, Philippines - Charly Suarez hurdled his Tajikistan rival but four other Filipino bets absorbed stinging setbacks in the Asian Boxing Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan over the weekend.
Suarez, back-to-back SEA Games gold medalist, upset Madadi Nagzebekov, ranked No. 3 in the lightweight division of the World Series of Boxing, 14-11, to advance in the tough event which stakes berths in this year’s London Olympics to the winners.
Joegin Ladon actually whipped his first round rival in Seif Emad Qrash of Jordan, 17-7, in the bantamweight class but bowed to China’s Zhang Jiawei, 8-13, in the next phase.
Ladon opted to slug it out with Zhang right from the start, forcing a tie after the first round but falling by one after Round 2. The 30-year-old Navyman, however, tried too hard to offset the slim edge of his rival and paid dearly for it.
Welterweight Wilfredo Lopez also lost to a Chinese opponent in the knockout system while 2010 Asian Games gold medal winner Rey Saludar lasted only two rounds against Mongolia’s Nyambayar Tugstsogt, a silver medalist in the last AIBA World Championships.
Bago City's Dennis Galvan, also a SEAG gold medalist, took an 8-18 loss to hard-hitting Kim Choi Song of the People's Republic of Korea in a slam-bang affair.
"We expected the competition to be top-notch but we just didn’t get any breaks in the draw. Our four losses were to Mongolia, DPRK and twice to China. How much stronger could the opposition be? But it just goes to show that we need to catch up with the powers in boxing. We cannot depend on the luck of the draw to get momentum," said ABAP executive director Ed Picson.
Still, he remains confident of Suarez’s chances.
"We've got a seasoned campaigner in Charly and he is coming off a sensational stint in the WSB. We hope he can turn things around. But he has a tough task, needing to win the gold medal to qualify for the Olympics. But if there's one guy who can pull it off, it's Charly," said Picson.
So far, only Mark Anthony Barriga has qualified for the Olympiad. He is with the RP team in Kazakhstan for training. They had previously been in Bangkok also for a joint training camp.
Meanwhile, ABAP president Ricky Vargas and secretary-general Patrick Gregorio are scheduled to arrive Monday in time for the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Asian Boxing Confederation.