Rogen Ladon, Eumir Felix Marcial, Ian Clark Bautista and Irish Magno will go for the gold on Sunday in the boxing competitions of the 31st Southeast Asian Games being held at the Bac Ninh Gymnasium in Vietnam.
Ladon and Marcial overcame their semifinal fights Thursday while Bautista and Magno booked their slots Friday evening.
Marcial, the Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist, hammered Thailand’s Peerapat Yeasungnoen in the second round, prompting the referee to put a halt to the bout, sending the Filipino on the brink of his fourth straight SEA Games gold and third consecutive in the middleweight division.
Marcial will face Delio Anzaqeci Mouzinho of Timor Leste for the gold.
Rogen Ladon also earned passage to the gold medal match after a split decision victory over Thailand’s Thanarat Saengphet in the men’s -52kg semifinals.Bautista was dominant in his bout against Cambodian Sao Rangsey, exploding with power bombs to the face and body that got the referee giving three standing 8-counts against Sao. Midway in the second round, the referee saw no point in continuing the fight and stepped in and stopped it.
Magno started tentatively although she still won the first round, 3-2. She immediately made the adjustment in the second and virtually cruised to victory with the final scorecards reading 5-0.
A big disappointment was welterweight Marjon Pianar, who took the 1st round 5-0 against Indonesia’s Sarohatua Lumbantobing who was given a standing 8. Somehow, in the second round, the Filipino got cocky and engaged needlessly and was given his own 8-count. It was downhill from there as the Indonesian exploited Pianar’s overzealousness and turned the tables to win the fight.
Tokyo silver medalist Nesthy Petecio, fighting for the first time since the Olympiad, utilized her usual pressing attack anchored on power punches but inexplicably got the shorter end of the deal as the judges seemed to have agreed with the crowd who lustily cheered for the hometown girl, Tran Thi Lin.
Petecio went for broke in the third and won that round 3-2, but it wasn’t enough to overhaul the lead. The Vietnamese girl got the decision, 4-1.
So out of the nine boxers who figured in the semifinals, four made it and five had to settle for bronze.
ABAP president Ed Picson, who watched from ringside said “this certainly was not what we expected but there were several factors that came into play. Obviously we’re disappointed but we still have four chances at gold and that’s what we’re focusing on now.”
The tournament ends Sunday.