MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – Filipino boxer Mark Barriga lost a tightly-contested bout against his Kazakhstan foe, bowing out of contention in the London Olympics amateur boxing on Saturday.
Kazakh boxer Birshan Zhakypov outpointed Barriga, 17-16, in a rough fight marred by much clinching and wrestling.
The 19-year-old Filipino was ahead, 10-8, going into the third and final round when he was warned for headbutting. A warning gives the opponent an additional 2 points.
"It was a judgment call, I don’t necessarily agree with it, but that's how it is,” said Ed Picson, executive director of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) following the fight.
Barriga trailed Zhakypov in points, 5-4, in a competitive first round.
The Filipino pug matched the Kazakh’s aggression in the following round.
He peppered Zhakypov with punches to the head and the body, while trying to move away from the Kazakh’s constant pressure.
Barriga won the second round, 6-3, giving Barriga a 10-8 lead.
The Filipino worked on maintaining his lead in the third, but could not get away from Zhakypov’s excessive clinching.
Referee Roland Labbe actually cited Zhakypov twice for repeated holding midway the third.
Zhakypov later began pushing Barriga's head down. But instead of penalizing the Kazakh for the action, referee Labbe gave a warning to the Filipino.
At this point, Barriga was apparently losing steam from all the shoving and the pushing.
The Kazakh later flipped the Filipino to the ground, and both of them got a warning from the referee.
The warnings meant added points to Zhakypov and these cost Barriga the match.
With his victory, Zhakypov advances to the quarterfinal round, where he meets China’s Zou Shiming.
So far, Barriga is the lone Filipino Olympian who made it through the first round of the competitions.
The remaining Filipino athletes still up for competition are long jumper Marestela Torres, runner Rene Herrera and BMX rider Danny Caluag.