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PH Rallies to Win SEAG Boxing Championshiop

By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Tue, 10 Dec 2019

Eumir Felix Marcial.

The Philippines once again emerged as the top boxing team in the Southeast Asian Games for only the third time since it last hosted the biennial sports competition in 2005.

But the host team had to rally from one gold medal down with just three more bouts left to beat a determined challenge from archrival Thailand yesterday at the boxing finals held at the PICC Complex in Pasay City

The Filipinos eventually swept all three bouts to take the team championship with seven golds, three silvers and two bronzes as against Thailand's five golds, three silvers and two bronzes. Vietnam finishes with one gold, five silvers and three bronzes.

With ten fighters in the finals, the Philippines looked a cinch to run away with the overall championship in boxing. However, with arch rival Thailand and dark horse Vietnam sending six fighters each plus two finalists from Indonesia and one from Myanmar, the possibility of the host team falling short was there with a string of losses, including an upset or two.

And it almost happened as Irish Magno lost to her Vietnamese opponent and Thailand won three straight bouts that included two head to head clashes and took the lead with five golds as against the host's four with just three more bouts left.

Significantly, the last three bouts even included one pitting a Pinoy, Charly Suarez against a Thai, Pednuch Khunatip in the men's lightweight finals.

As what happened, the 31 year old veteran Suarez used his ring smarts and experience to the hilt and defeated the Thai by unanimous decision to level the score at five gold medals each.

Thereafter, recent world championship standouts Nesthy Petecio and Felix Eumir Marcial swept their finals assignment against Nwe Oo Ni of Myanmar and Nguyen Van Coung of Vietnam respectively, with Marcial scoring another win via the short route to provide the difference.

From the finals opening, the Philippines and Thailand had a neck to neck battle for the gold medals.

Nilawan won Thai's first gold by besting her Vietnamese opponent Dho Nha Uyen 5-0 in the women's bantamweight finals.

Carlo Paalam won the host's first gold over veteran defending titlist Kornelis Langgu of Indonesia in the men's light flyweight finals.

But Irish Magno lost by 4-1 decision to Vietnam's Nguyen Thi Tham in the women's flyweight finals.

Rogen Ladon outclassed his Thai foe Ammarit in the men's flyweight finals to win the country's second gold.

Olympian Chatchai Butdee had earlier secured Thailand's second gold as he won the men's bantamweight finals by dominating points victory over Vietnam's Van Doung.

Then came two successive wins from Josie Gabuco who defeated her Indonesian opponent Endang Endang in the women's light flyweight finals and James Palicte who beat Vietnam's Nguyen Van Hai in the light welterweight finals to give the host a two gold medal edge midway through the final round.

But Thailand came back with three consecutive finals victories to grab back the lead, five golds to four.

In two head to head clashes, Thailand's Wuttichai Masuk and Soosandee Sudaporn proved too much for Marjon Pianar and Riza Pasuit in the welterweight and women's lightweight finals, winning by unanimous decision.

Avanat defeated Troung Ding Hoang, quarterfinals conqueror of John Marvin to win the gold for Thailan─Ć in the light heavyweight class.

Down by one gold, the host team rallied in the final three matches through Suarez, Petecio and Marcial to win the team championship in dramatic come from behind fashion.

Gabuco won her fifth gold, Marcial and Suarez their third, Ladon his second and Paalam and Petecio their very first in two and three stints respectively. Palicte won his first gold in his first SEAG competition.

Magno, Pianar and Pasuit settled for silver and Aira Villegas and Ian Clark Bautista accounted for the two bronze medals. Only Fil British Marvin, the light heavyweight gold medalist in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur games, did not win any medal.

The Philippines last won the boxing championship in the Singapore SEAG in 2015.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.

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