Seasoned boxer Junel Cantancio nailed a unanimous decision victory over Chinese Wang Bo to reach the men’s lightweight finals of the 2013 China Open International Boxing Tournament at the Guizhou Gymnasium in Guiyang.
The 27-year-old Cantancio got the nod of the three judges – who all scored 30-27.
Another Filipino, London Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga, was eliminated following a 28-29, 27-30, 28-29 loss to Guiyang native Wu Zhonglin in the light-flyweight category. Barriga earned a bronze medal for reaching the semifinals.
“They need to know how to adjust their game to the system. We had a lengthy meeting after the fights this afternoon with the coaches and boxers to explain to them in more detail what they need to do to take advantage of the new rule,” said Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines executive director Ed Picson.
The tournament, sanctioned by the International Boxing Association, is using a format similar to the professional level with three judges, scoring 10 points in each round.
In the women’s division, World Championships gold medalist Josie Gabuco fights for the gold in the flyweight category against Chinese Xu Shiqi.
Gabuco holds a 1-0 head-to-head edge against Xu – the same boxer she defeated in the finals of the World Championships held in Qinhuangdao, China, last year.
“I know she is out to avenge that loss, so I’m prepared for her,” said Gabuco, who stunned London Olympics silver medalist and three-time world champion Ren Cancan in the semifinals.
Lightweight Nesthy Petecio also shoots for gold against New Zealand’s Alexis Pritchard, who is six inches taller than the Filipina fighter.
“I’m used to fighting girls that tall,” said Petecio.
EMIL C. NOGUERA