ANNAM, Jordan – The PLDT-ABAP campaign in the Asian Elite Men’s Championships suffered a major setback last Thursday as two Filipino fighters lost in the preliminaries at the Amman Boxing Arena here.
Bantamweight Mario Fernandez of Cagayan de Oro City, barely two years in the national pool, started well against current Kazakhstan national champion Kairat Yeraliyev dodging punches and countering well.
He won the first round handily.
Midway through the second round, however, the wily Kazakh, fresh from a gold medal finish in the Korotkov Memorial Tournment in Khabarovsk, Russia, suddenly changed gears and pressed the attack.
In the third round, Yeraliyev had the better of several fierce exchanges, and won the bout on close scores of 29-28 on all three judges’ cards.
Also, 27 year-old Junel Cantancio ran into a brick wall against a hulking Ardee Sailom of Thailand, who used his power against the hyper-active Philippine Air Force airman to win the match pulling away, 3-0.
The Thai, a 2-time Olympian (Beijing 2008 and London 2012), is a perennial victim of Charly Suarez, who bested him in the finals of both the 2009 Laos and 2011 Palembang SEA Games.
Suarez, however, was unable to make the trip as he is currently undergoing therapy for a torn shoulder ligament after his stint with the Italia Thunder in the World Series of Boxing.
Left to carry the Philippine colors in the tournament participated in by 27 Asian countries are Asian Games gold medalist Rey Saludar, who sees action Friday against another Thai Ongjunta Tanes, and Rogen Ladon, whose bout with Kazakhstan’s Temertas Zhussupov will be on Saturday. /abap media bureau