The national junior boxing team bagged two gold medals on Monday in the ASBC Asian Junior Boxing Championships held at the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.
General Santos City pride Kenneth Dela Peña delivered the first mint after scoring a 4-1 split decision win over Mukhtarov Akilbek of Kazakhstan in the championship round of the pinweight (44-46 kgs.) category.
Dela Peña, a silver medalist in the 2016 Batang Pinoy, got 29-28 from judges from Thailand, India and Iran, and a 30-26 decision from an Iraqi judge.
The fifth judge from Japan gave 29-28 in favor of the Kazakh fighter.
Palarong Pambansa champion and four-time Batang Pinoy gold medalist John Vincent Pangga joined the celebration by claiming the gold medal in the flyweight (50 kgs.) division.
He defeated Sukhet Sarawut of Thailand in the finals via the same 4-1 split decision with four judges scoring 29-28 for the Filipino pug. The other judge listed it 29-28 for the Thai boxer.
Dela Peña made it to the finals by beating Yu Chen-Cheng of Taiwan in the semifinals via unanimous decision while Pangga toppled Syrymbetov Talgat of Kazakhstan via split decision in the other semis bout.
The 16-year old Dela Peña earned an opening round bye then clobbered Soy Selay of India in the quarterfinals of the event that attracted 142 boxers from 18 countries.
For his part, Pangga stunned fancied Amirbek Ibodullayev of Uzbekistan before nailing a first-round referee-stopped-contest victory against Saif Alkharoosi of the United Arab Emirates in the quarterfinals.
Norlan Petecio (lightweight) and Criz Laurente (light flyweight) were the two other members of the team but both lost in their respective quarterfinals matches in the tournament sanctioned by the Asian Boxing Confederation and International Boxing Association.
Petecio is the younger brother of 2014 Women’s World Championship silver medalist Nesthy Petecio while Laurente wants to follow the footsteps of his elder brother Criztian Pitt Laurente – a Children of Asia International Games gold medalist.