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Ladon, Maamo fight on

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan – At the end of the quarterfinal round of the ASBC Asian Elite Championships here Wednesday, two of the smallest members of the ABAP national boxing squad emerged victorious and continue the grind for gold.

Olympian light flyweight (49 kg) Rogen Ladon made short work of his Syrian opponent Hussein Al Masri who bored in head first and ran into the waiting punches of the Bago City native. The referee gave a warning (one point deduction) on the Syrian for ducking in the first round and another in the second round, stopping the fight via disqualification and catapulting the 23 year-old Filipino to the semifinals on Friday.

Flyweight (52kg) Dannel Maamo of Cagayan de Oro City has, for several years, been fighting in the fringes under the shadow of such achievers as Rey Saludar and Ian Clark Bautista.

But here, he determinedly sought to break out of his cocoon and mix it up with the big boys. Only 20 years old, Maamo displayed veteran moves with his flashy footwork and boundless energy which he used to subdue his Sri Lankan opponent via a 5-0 decision (all judges called it 30-26 for the Filipino).

Ladon and Maamo are now also qualified for the World Championships in Hamburg in August. The top 6 in each weight class are picked for the said championships.

A disappointment was middleweight Eumir Felix Marcial who lost his quarterfinal round bout to hometown boy Israil Madriimov. The fight was lustily cheered by the ever-animated Uzbek crowd as the two fighters slugged it out the entire three rounds.

The judges gave the unanimous decision to Madrimov. Still, the 21 year old sensation from Zamboanga City has a chance at qualification.

Per the rules, the last two slots will be contested by the four losing quarterfinalists. Should he win his box-off against Abdul Mouen Aziz of Syria on Saturday, he too books a ticket to the World Championships.

ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson, evaluated the performance of the national boxers here thus far:

“We can’t really ask for more from the boys. All our losses here were against top seeds: Mario Bautista vs. the #3 bantamweight, Joel Bacho against the #5 welterweight, James Palicte versus the #2 lightweight and Marcial to the #2 rated Uzbek middleweight.”

The semifinal round on Friday will see Ladon (No. 2) vs. Mongolian Gan-Erdene Gankhuyag (No. 3) and Maamo going up against Inkyu Kim (No. 2 seed) of Korea.