MANILA, Philippines - Rey Saludar pulled off a close win over Japanese Hayashida Syota to kick off Team PLDT-ABAP’s campaign in the 27th Asian Men’s Boxing Championships in Amman, Jordan Monday.
Saludar, the 2010 Asian Games gold medalist, scored with swift crosses in the early going, slowed down in the second but resumed his attack in the last round to post a 30-27, 28-29, 30-27 victory.
The 24-year-old Army man from Polomolok, South Cotabato win the flyweight division made up for Joel Bacho’s setback after the latter dropped a 28-29 verdict on all three judges’ cards against Hiroki Inoue.
The lean Phl team, a mix of veterans and young talents, includes China Open silver medalist Junel Cantancio (lightweight), alternate light flyweight Rogen Ladon, who substituted for injured Mark Anthony Barriga, and Kuala Lumpur City gold medalist Mario Fernandez (bantamweight).
ABAP president Ricky Vargas said “our strength lies in both our veterans and young finds. But this early, our grassroots products have to be exposed to the international arena in preparation for the bigger tournaments ahead.”
The team’s coaches are Pat Gaspi, Ronald Chavez and Roel Velasco while ABAP executive director Ed Picson is the delegation head.
Gaspi and Velasco are also in Jordan to update their 3-star coach status as mandated by AIBA (the International Boxing Association).
Chavez had his upgrade two months ago in Assissi, Italy.
AIBA International Technical Official (ITO) Karina Picson is here as one of the supervising officials brought in by the Asian Boxing Confederation (ASBC).