MANILA – Another Filipino boxer, Charly Suarez, has earned ticket to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro after beating Chinese bet Jun Shan in the ongoing AIBA Asian/Oceanian Olympic Qualifying tournament in Qian’An, Hebei Province, China.
Suarez shattered the nose of Shan in the first round and forced his retirement before the start of the third in the lightweight division to join light flyweight Rogen Ladon in the gold medal bout and the plane bound for Brazil in August.
Suarez, who led in the cards of the three judges when the fight was halted, will face Otgondala Orjnyabuu of Mongolia in the final.
Never allowing the hometown crowd to get going, Suarez swamped Jun with powerful combinations that rocked the Chinese from the opening bell until he surrendered while in his corner.
Earlier, Ladon defeated Devendro Singh Laisham of India in their semifinal bout to advance in the Rio Olympics.
All three judges scored it, 30-27, for the 22-year-old Ladon, the 2015 Southeast Asian Games silver medallist who now fights for the gold against Uzbekistan’s Hasanboy Dusmatov, winner over Mongolia’s Gankhuyag Gan-Erdene in the other semis bout.
Ladon will be seeking vengeance after losing to Dusmatov by decision in the final of the 2015 ASBC Asian Confederation Boxing Championships.
Beaten by Russian Vasili Egorov in the semifinal last October in Doha, Ladon, from Bago City, Negros Occidental, refused to fall into an elaborate trap laid down by his crafty opponent.
Unable to lure Ladon inside, Laisham lunged in desperation and got deducted a point in the second round for excessive ducking.
Though assured of a spot in the Olympics, Ladon is not about to rest on his achievement.
“Tuloy na sa gold ‘to, sir!” Ladon said. “Number one pala tayo dito. Nakakahiya kung hindi gold.”
Not so lucky were bantamweight Mario Fernandez, who lost to Thai Chatchai Butdee in their semis bout – 29-27 in the cards of all three judges, and welterweight Eumir Felix Marcial, who fought with swollen knuckles on his left hand and paid the prize, a 30-27 decision to Uzbekistan’s Shakhram Giyasov.
But all is not lost for Fernandez and Marcial as they still have a chance to finish No. 3.
But to advance, Fernandez has to beat a Kazakhstan fighter in a box-off on Friday while Marcial needs to upend a Mongolia opponent.
On the advice of ABAP’s sports science team, Marcial’s hand was immersed alternately in hot water with Epsom salt and in ice for the past two days to reduce the swelling, but the pain was another matter.
Marcial, nonetheless, vowed to fight to the end Friday in his last chance to get to Rio.
The top three boxers in each male weight category qualify for an Olympic berth.