ROGEN Ladon lived up to his No.1 ranking in the AIBA Asia-Oceania Qualifying Tournament in China as he clinched a berth in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games later this year.
Ladon, who displayed speed and accuracy to thwart Iraq’s Al-Kaabi in a unanimous-decision win in the quarterfinals, 30-25, boxed beautifully to overcome shifty Indian opponent Devendro Singh Laisham as he won all three rounds.
All three judges scored it 30-27 for the 22-year-old Ladon, the 2015 Southeast Asian Games silver medalist, who now fights for the gold against Uzbekistan’s Hasanboy Dusmatov, winner over Mongolia’s Gankhuyag Gan-Erdene in the other semis bout.
The talented Dusmatov denied Ladon of a finals’ stint the 2015 ASBC Asian Confederation Boxing Championships by decision.
Shut off from the gold-medal bout after losing to Russian Vasili Egorov in the semifinals last October in Qatar, Ladon, who hails from Bago City, Negros Occidental, refused to fall into an elaborate trap laid down by his crafty opponent.
Executive Director Ed Picson told The Standard: “Rogen focused on boxing and did not allow himself to be baited into the clinching and infighting tactics that his Indian foe wanted. He stuck to the fight plan of keeping his distance.”
Ladon wept after his hand was raised and continued to sob uncontrollably in the dugout as the entire Philippine delegation congratulated him. Though assured of a spot in the Olympics, Ladon is not about to rest on his achievement.
He vowed to go for the gold.
“We are No.1 here and it would be a shame if we don’t win gold,” said Ladon.
Mario Fernandez, who also barged into the semifinals with a 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 decision over Alwadi of Jordan, had a tough time against highly regarded Chatchai Butdee of Thailand in the semifinals and lost all three rounds by a 10-9 margin for an overall 30-27 tally.
Fernandez still has a chance to make it to Rio if he is able to beat the other losing semifinalist, Kairat Yeraliyev of Kazakhstan, who was beaten by fancied Indian boxer Shiva Thapa, 29-28, and 30-27 on the scorecards of the three judges.
The two remaining hopefuls, veteran lightweight Charly Suarez and hard-hitting welterweight Eumir Felix Marcial were scheduled to see action in the evening sessions.
Marcial, who injured the knuckles on his left hand, vowed to fight through the pain as the No. 1 seed hopes to earn a slot to the Olympic Games. The welterweight punching machine, also ranked no. 1 in the tournament, had no problem disposing of Kazemzadehposhtiri from Iran with all three judges having the tough and solidly built Filipino from Zamboanga winning handily, 30-27, (twice) and 29-28, in the quarterfinals.
Marcial goes up against 22-year-old Shakram Giyasov of Uzbekistan in the semis.
Suarez, who is a skillful boxer with hand-speed and punching power, will face China’s Shan Jun in the semifinal round late Thursday.
ABAP Executive director Ed Picson told The Standard that Suarez is aware that the 21-year-old Shan Jun has the hometown crowd, but the Filipino has “ a fight plan that I think will turn things around for me.”
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