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Pinoy boxers bag 2 golds

PUERTO PRINCESA, Palawan – The future of the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP) looks rosy and bright.

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A pair of promising punchers gave the ABAP leadership a reason to smile Monday when pinweight Kenneth Dela Peña and flyweight John Vincent Pangga struck gold as the ASBC Asian Juniors Boxing Championships came to a close.

When the mushroom cloud dissipated at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum, host Philippines emerged with two first-place finishes courtesy of the furious fists of Dela Peña, 16, and Pangga, 15.

Dela Peña posted a 4-1 decision over Kazakhstan’s Akilbek Mukhtarov while Pangga also was awarded the same score against Thailand’s Sarawut Sukhtet before a crowd that lustily cheered for the hometown bets.

A standing eight-count was scored by Dela Peña in the second round and just before the end of the round, he rocked Mukhtarov once again.

Earlier, Dela Peña took the first round with the narrowest of margins as the Kazakh dictated the early part of the round before Dela Peña rebounded and capped the opening round with a flourish.

Dela Peña’s victory was cemented by a solid second round when the referee had to administer a standing eight-count on Mukhtarov.

Sensing that he was behind on the scores, Mukhtarov came out smoking in the third canto, pressing the attack and landing some heavy blows that sent Dela Peña backpedaling.

“I kept telling myself that this is for the gold medal so I didn’t give up,” said Dela Peña, who comes from General Santos City, in Pilipino after the match.

Pangga also walked the tightrope in taking the gold as he had to go down the well to exact some sort of a payback against Sukhtet, who had done him harm when they sparred a few weeks back during training camp in Thailand.

“When we sparred in Thailand, he hit me on the chest and it was painful,” said the Cagayan de Oro-based Pangga.