On the eve of the national boxing team’s campaign in the SEA Games in Vietnam, lone Philippine entry Aira Villegas (light flyweight, 48-50 kg) stamped her mark with two consecutive wins Saturday and Sunday in the IBA Women’s World Championships at the Besaksehir Youth and Sports Facility in Istanbul, Turkey.
After disposing of her first opponent Maxi Klotzer from Germany on Saturday (5-0), the Tacloban City lass upset professional boxer Nina Radovanovic of Serbia.
The Serbian boasted of a 14-4 record in the pros and was a quarterfinalist in the Tokyo Olympics last year. She is also a former IBO flyweight champion.
Villegas exploited her height and reach advantage by keeping a distance and delivering solid counterpunching with right hooks and left straights.
Three judges returned scores of 30-27, while two had it 29-28, all for the Philippine boxer.
On her 3rd consecutive day of competition Monday evening, Villegas faces a tough local fighter in the quarterfinals, Buse Naz Cakiroglu.
Women’s coach Reynaldo Galido, who is working the corner with Head Coach Pat Gaspi, said: “The Turkish girl has the hometown crowd advantage and she has a similar style as Aira. We will change things up tomorrow. Aira is determined and is in excellent shape”.
The International Boxxing Association is giving out cash incentives of $100,000 for gold, $50,000 for silver and $25,000 for bronze.
There are 310 boxers from 73 countries in the competition, which ends on May 21.
ABAP president Ed Picson who was at ringside, treated the team to a Chinese hotpot dinner after the fight.
Secretary general Marcus Manalo, who watched Saturday, was at the airport on his way to Hanoi.