The Philippines’ campaign in the Asian Elite Men’s Championships started absorbing setbacks on Thursday as two Filipino fighters lost in the preliminaries at the Amman Boxing Arena in Amman, Jordan.
Philippine delegation head Ed Picson sent an email saying that bantamweight Mario Fernandez of Cagayan de Oro, 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 Tournament 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.
Meanwhile, 27 year-old Junel Cantancio ran into a brick wall against a hulking Ardee Sailom of Thailand who used his power against the Philippine Air Force airman to win the match, 3-0.
The Thai, a two-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 Southeast Asian Games.
Suarez however was unable to make the trip as he is currently undergoing therapy for a torn shoulder ligament.
The Philippines’ campaign in the tourney ended on Friday when Rey Saludar and Rogen Ladon suffered losses in their respective quarterfinals matches. Saludar, a 2010 Asian Games gold medalist, absorbed 28-29, 28-29 loss against Thai Tanes Ongjunta while La-don fell to Temer-tas Zhus-supov of Kazakhs-tan, 28-28, 28-29 and 27-30.
WITH REPORT FROM JOSEF T. RAMOS