Laurente, Pangga Outclass Fancied Rivals
Criz Russu Laurente and John Vincent Pangga earned quarterfinal berths after scoring unanimous decision wins over their fancied rivals in the opening day of the ASBC Asian Junior Boxing Championships held Wednesday in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
Laurente outclassed Cai Yujun in the 48 kg light flyweight class while Pangga stunned Uzbekistan’s Amirbek Ibodullayev in the 50 kg flyweight category after earning 5-0 verdicts from the judges, much to the delight of the local crowd who watched the opener at the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum.
The two boxers resume their campaigns on Thursday against two boxers who drew byes in their respective weight categories of the Asian tournament for 15-16 years old.
Laurente faces Kazakhstan’s Makhmud Sabirkhan while Pangga battles Saif Alkharoosi of the United Arab Emirates.
Also seeing action are Kenneth de la Pena and Norlan Petecio, who earned byes in the tournament hosted by the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines and 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.
“Great start by our fresh recruits from the ABAP grassroots program. We are underdogs here, but let’s hope our boys can draw inspiration from crowd support and that they can do well,” said ABAP President Ricky Vargas, who closely followed the tournament by phone with ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson while on a business trip in the United States.
Laurente, a native of General Santos City, hopes to continue his family’s boxing tradition. His father Cristino is a coach, mother Rosalinda is a national referee-judge while brothers Criz Sander and Criztian Pitt earned success in international tournaments.
He showed his capability of following his brothers’ footsteps after displaying skill and guile against Yujun to secure a place in the next round.
On the other hand, Pangga showcased his counterpunching skills and crisp straights and hooks to beat Ibodullayev, who was Uzbekistan’s national junior champion.
The victory of Pangga, a protege of Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno, also dealt Uzbekistan its only loss on opening day after five of its boxers won their preliminary matches.
The tournament began with a brief ceremony featuring local groups followed by short welcome remarks by PSC Commissioner Ramon Fernandez and ASBC Vice President Yousuf Ali Al Kazim.
Catch day 2 of the event on ABAP’s YouTube Channel, or by playing the video bellow: