Negros Occidental’s Rogen Ladon secured a berth in the Rio Olympics this year by beating India’s Devendro Singh Laisham in the Amateur International Boxing Association Asian/Oceanian Olympic qualifying tournament on Thursday at the Tangshan Sports Center in Qian’ An Hebei province in China.
The flyweight Ladon, 22, who failed to bag an Olympics slot in the first qualifier in October in Doha, Qatar won via unanimous decision when all three judges wrote 30-27 in his favor.
“Rogen focused on boxing and did not allow himself to be baited into the clinching and infighting that his Indian foe wanted,” said Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines Executive Director Ed Picson. “He stuck to the fight plan of keeping the distance.”
Ladon will face Uzbekistan’s Hasanboy Dusmatov in the finals, who earlier defeated Mongolian Gankhuyag Gan-Erdene.
Mario Fernandez, another Filipino boxer lost via unanimous decision to Thai fighter Chatchai Butdee in the semifinals. Fernandez could still secure an Olympic berth if he beat Kazakhstan’s Kairat Yeraliyev today.
Only the top three boxers in each weight category of the meet qualify for an Olympic berth.
Two other Filipino fighters, lightweight Charly Suarez and welterweight Eumir Felix Marcial were still fighting their respective foes at press time.
The Philippine boxers are under coaches Nolito and Roel Velasco and three-time Olympian Romeo Brin.
JOSEF T. RAMOS