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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Smashing Asian Games’ boxing debut for Fajardo

HANGZHOU – Mark Ashley Fajardo made a smashing debut in the 19th Asian Games after scoring a first-round knockout of Bhutan’s Dorji Wangdi at the start of boxing competitions Sunday at Hangzhou gymnasium.

The young native of Cebu made it easy and quick by setting up Wangdi with a straight right, and then delivering a left to the jaw to drop his foe to the canvas.

The Bhutan fighter tried to beat the mandatory eight count, but stood on wobbly legs, prompting the referee to stop the bout at the 2:21 mark.

It was an unexpected end to the light-welterweight bout which was only Fajardo’s second international exposure.

“Nagulat ako. Hindi ko inasahan na ganu’n ang mangyayari,” said the soft-spoken boxer.

The impressive win somehow made up for the loss of Aira Villegas earlier in the women’s 50 kg class.

The 28-year-old Filipina lost by points to Mongolia’s Yesugen Oyuntsetseg, 3-1, to bow out of the tournament.

Olympians Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno hope to ride the momentum of Fajardo’s inspiring win as they also see action later in the night.

Magno is slated to face Nigina Uktamova of Uzbekistan on the women’s 54 kg class, while Marcial, bronze medalist in the Tokyo Olympics, takes on Mongolia’s Dalai Ganzorig in the day’s last match in the 80 kg class.

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