3 PH pugs advance in Astana tourney

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Three Filipino boxers scored victories in their respective first-round matches to advance to the next round of the 2017 President’s Cup – Elite International Boxing Championship being held in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Veteran international campaigner Joel Bacho, who won a bronze medal in the Thailand International Invitational Tournament in April, led the onslaught of the Philippines as he ousted Lee Seung Hyeon of South Korea in the men’s welterweight class.

Reigning Southeast Asian Games champion Mario Fernandez (men’s junior bantamweight) and 2014 Women’s World Championships silver medalist Nesthy Petecio (women’s lightweight) also notched impressive wins against their foes from the host country.

Singapore SEA Games silver winner Irish Magno, however, was the first casualty after losing to Kazakh pug in the opening round of the women’s flyweight division in the tournament sanctioned by the Asian Boxing Confederation.


The other members of the team are Singapore Games titlist Ian Clark Bautista (men’s flyweight) and Carlo Paalam (men’s light flyweight) – who are also gunning for medals in their weight classes.

The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines also sent veteran coaches Patricio Gaspi, former Asian champion Romeo Brin and Barcelona Olympics bronze medalist Roel Velasco to handle the team.

The tournament serves as a tuneup for the 2017 Southeast Asian Games scheduled in August in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as the ABAP hopes to retain the overall title in boxing competition.

The Philippines went home with five gold, three silver and two bronze medals in the 2015 Singapore Games, beating Vietnam (three gold, one silver and two bronze) and powerhouse Thailand (two gold, three silver and three bronze).

Besides Fernandez and Bautista, the other gold medalists in Singapore were Junel Cantancio (men’s lightweight), Eumir Felix Marcial (men’s welterweight) and Josie Gabuco (women’s light flyweight).

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