De la Pena, Pangga Reach Asian Junior Finals
Kenneth de la Pena and John Vincent Pangga came away with hard-fought victories in their semifinal matches Sunday afternoon to reach the finals of the ASBC Asian Junior Boxing Championships in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
De la Pena produced a strong finish to beat Yu Chen-Cheng of Chinese Taipei by unanimous decision in the 44-46 kg pinweight category while Pangga outlasted Syrymbetov Talgat of Kazakhstan with a split decision victory in the 50 kg flyweight class.
The two boxers go for gold Monday, with De la Pena taking on Mukhtarov Akilbek of Kazakhstan and Pangga facing Sukthet Sarawut of Thailand in the event hosted by the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines.
Mukhhtarov beat Abdurakhmonov Mukhammadmuso of Uzbekistan even as Sarawut downed Ibraimov Muktarbek of Kyrgyzstan in their respective semifinal matches of the 15-16 year old Asian tourney also supported by Palawan Gov. Jose Ch. Alvarez, City Mayor Lucilo Bayron, the Philippine Sports Commission, MVP Sports Foundation, Smart, Maynilad, PLDT, Wesing, Meralco, Meralco One Foundation, Philippine Airlines, San Miguel Corporation and Hotel Centro Puerto Princesa.
“A bronze would have already been good news but we now have a big chance of winning a gold,” said ABAP President Ricky Vargas.
Coaches Ronald Chavez, Elmer Pamsa and Romeo Brin are also confident that De la Pena and Pangga, discovered through local tournaments like the Palarong Pambansa and Batang Pinoy, can keep their impressive showings in the earlier rounds and emerge victorious in the scenic western island.
De la Pena overcame the aggressiveness of his Taiwanese foe by dominating the second and third rounds, ending it with a fury when he forced Yu to receive a standing eight-count from Iranian referee Alaviseyed Jalaledin.
Pangga, on the other hand, dominated right from the opening bell that saw him give Syrymbetov a standing eight-count. The Kazakh made things interesting with a solid third round, but three of the five judges awarded the bout in Pangga’s favor.
Catch day 3 of the event on ABAP’s YouTube Channel, or by playing the video bellow: