Bacho of PHL-ABAP Hopeful for Gold
THANYABURIi, Thailand- After a sizzling start of 6-for-6 on opening day Tuesday, the PHL-ABAP national boxing team ran into a spate of bad breaks and went 1-5 in the quarterfinals of the Thailand International Boxing Tournament in this quiet district some 50 kilometers north of Bangkok.
Cagayan de Oro native Carlo Paalam, 18, a bronze medalist in last year’s World Youth Championships in St. Petersburg, Russia, had his hands full with Rio Olympics gold medalist and 2016 AIBA Boxer of the Year Dusmatov Hasanboy of Uzbekistan, dropping a 5-0 decision in the 49 kilogram light flyweight division.
Then, 2015 SEA Games gold medalists flyweight Ian Clark Bautista and bantamweight Mario Fernandez had the unfortunate situation of facing boxers from host nation Thailand. Both got the shorter end of those deals with Bautista a victim of a 5-0 decision and Fernandez losing, 4-1.
James Palicte, who a day earlier had a smashing 2nd round TKO victory over Aussie Patrick McLaughlin in the 60 kg lightweight division, succumbed to a unanimous decision against Rio Olympic bronze medalist, Akhmadaliev Murodjon, another member of the favored Uzbek team.
Welterweight Joel Bacho, who Tuesday made waves by beating Cuban Arisnoidys Despaigne, brought a whiff of fresh air as he demolished Taipei’s Huang Zhao Ching, 5-0.
Eumir Felix Marcial thought he would be the second Filipino to upset a Cuban in this tournament as he repeatedly scoredsolid combinations against Osley Iglesias Estrada. The judges however, returned a split decision, 3-2 in favor of Iglesias.
ABAP president Ricky Vargas was undeterred however.
In a text message to delegation head and ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson, he said that while “obviously we would have wanted our win streak to continue, that’s a tough tournament the boys are in. I welcome the opportunity to test our skills against some of the best boxers in the world. This can only be good for them. Go Bacho!”, he said.
The 24 year old lad from Mandaluyong will face 2016 World Youth gold medalist Akhmedov Sadriddin in Thursday’s semi-final round.
“I know he’s good but I gained a lot of confidence with that win over the Cuban. Hopefully, it will carry me to the Finals and a possible gold here”, declared Bacho.
Coaches are Pat Gaspi, Romeo Brin and Elias Recaido, Jr.