Jakarta—No thanks to a head butt, Rogen Ladon will go home with a silver medal in men’s flyweight of boxing in the 18th Asian Games.
Ladon was Team Philippines’ last man standing, who had a shot at a fifth gold medal.
But an ugly wound in his right eyebrow oozed with blood from a head butt by Uzbekistan’s Jasurbek Latipov, forcing the ring doctor to stop the fight.
But even the boxing announcer was at a loss on how to declare Latipov the winner in the gold medal match that was stopped only 22 seconds into the second round.
The games’ announcer at the JI Expo called it a Referee Stopped Contest-Second Round, but the verdict was decided by the judges’ scorecards which, except for the Indonesian, went the Uzbek’s way, 3-1.
“It’s a big disappointment,” Ladon said after the medal ceremony that had a sullen Philippine Olympic Committee President Ricky Vargas handing him his silver.
“It’s a major disappointment. Not only me, but the entire country aspired for the gold medal,” he added.
Latipov received the gold medal tainted by allegations of cheating.
Ladon ended up a wounded silver medalist—the left side of his forehead just above the eyebrow almost heavily bandaged to cover a wound that eventually hurt his bid for a gold medal.
“He [Uzbek] was in the ropes and when he sprung back, he gave me the headbutt,” said Ladon, who believed he took the first round by connecting clearer scoring punches.
Vargas, POC Chairman Abraham Tolentino and Alliance of Boxing Associations in the Philippines secretary general Ed Picson could only shrug their shoulders over the controversial loss absorbed by Ladon—the third after Nesthy Petecio in the preliminaries and Carlo Paalam and Eumir Felix Marcial in the semifinals last Thursday.
Picson said several federations also expressed dismay over the judging in the tournament.
“There are several federations who felt that they were robbed as well,” said that Vargas “will make suggestions and try see to it that reforms are made in the boxing communities.
“In the AIBA, there are no protests. The best we could do is to go to the congress,” he said.
With the loss, the Philippines ended its campaign with four gold, two silver and 15 silver medals—a tally that was good for No.19 in the medal standings and far better than the lone BMX cycling gold Daniel Caluag won in Incheon in 2014.
Ladon’s coaches—Ronald Chavez and Nolito Velasco—were wary of the cut before the final bout and had to scramble for any remedy. They got one—Dermabond, derma glue that closes wounds temporarily, thanks to a social media post by volleyball player Mika Reyes, whose Indonesian fan gave the adhesive for free.
But the derma glue could not withstand a head butt by the Uzbek. Ladon’s wound, which was about an inch, opened prompting the referee to summon the match doctor, who eventually stopped the fight.
With four gold medals—courtesy of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, skateboarder Margielyn Didal and golfers Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go—the Philippine delegation goes back home starting on Monday with a better haul than Incheon.
But China remained as the most dominant in Asia with 273 medals—123 of them gold—followed by Japan with 70 golds and South Korea 45.
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