PHUKET, Thailand – Filipino boxers Rogen Ladon, Riza Pasuit and Hergie Bacyadan snagged gold medals to lead the Philippines' triumphant campaign in the 2022 Thailand Open International Boxing Tournament at the posh Angsana Laguna Phuket Resort Hotel here on Saturday.
The reigning Southeast Asian Games flyweight king Ladon earned the nod of three judges for a 3-2 split decision upset over defending Asian Games titlist and 2019 AIBA World Championships silver winner Amit Panghal of India.
Ladon, a Rio Olympics veteran, fought methodically to clinch points in the first two rounds before surviving a late flurry from Amit in the final round.
Later on, SEA Games 2019 silver medal finisher Pasuit dictated the tempo right from the get-go with solid counterpunching against Italy's Alessia Mesiano to rule the women's lightweight division.
"I'm very happy. I expected the experience from Rogen to come out today. As for Riza, she is a very good counter-puncher and a great boxer moving forward," said Philippine boxing team head coach Don Abnett, who is accompanied by coaches Roel Velasco, Ronald Chavez, Reynaldo Galido and Mitchel Martinez.
Bacyadan, a wushu athlete-turned-boxer, capped off the national boxing squad's successful stint with another gold after dominating Vietnam’s Tran Thi Oanh Nhi, 5-0, in the women's middleweight category.
Aside from the medals, Ladon, Pasuit and Bacyadan also received USD2,000 (more than PHP100,000) apiece as top finishers in the tournament organized by the Thailand Boxing Association headed by its president and concurrent Asian Boxing Federation president Pichai Chunhavajira.
Meanwhile, Ian Clark Bautista (men's featherweight) and Aira Villegas (women's flyweight) settled for silver after faltering against higher-ranked opponents Serik Termizhanov of Kazakhstan and Nguyen Thi Tam of Vietnam.
With the three golds and two silvers, the PH boxing team already eclipsed its medal haul in the 2019 edition (1 gold, 1 bronze) and 2018 iteration (1-1-2 gold-silver-bronze) when it seized the overall championship together with the host nation.
"I think we've exceeded our expectations because as you know, our boxers have come from a long period of inactivity. We're happy with where we are right now," said Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) president Ed Picson, who is leading the Philippine delegation along with secretary-general Marcus Manalo.
After the Thailand Open joined by 14 federations across Asia, Europe and Oceania, Picson said the Filipino pugs will head back to Muak Lek training camp to resume their preparation for next month's 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam and 2022 AIBA Women's World Championship in Istanbul, Turkey. (PR)