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3 Pinoy boxers start title bids

KUALA LUMPUR – Three Filipino fighters swing into action Sunday at the start of the boxing competition of the 29th Southeast Asian Games at the MiTEC Hall 8.

Flyweight Clark Bautista begins his title defense against Abdul Salam Kasim of Malaysia.

A win will set up Bautista to a possible semifinal showdown with Tanes Ongjunta of Thailand.

Bantamweight Mario Fernandez, on the other hand, appears to have a smooth ride to the finals. He clashes with Maung Nge of Myanmar, Tran Phu Cuong of Vietnam in the quarterfinals and either Nat Siek Nin of Cambodia or Danial Abdul Jalil of Singapore in the semifinals.

In the middleweight division, Eumir Felix Marcial goes up against Nguyen Manh Cuong of Vietnam.

Light welterweight Charly Suarez will see action on Monday against Malaysian Khir Akyazlan Azmi. His much anticipated fight against Thai veteran Wuttichai Masuk will be in the semifinals.

In the light heavyweight bracket, Marvin Tupas is pitted against Felix Martinez of Cambodia. Should he get past Martinez, Tupas faces a possible roadblock in Anavat Thongkrathok of Thailand in the Last 4.

Light flyweight Carlo Paalam faces hometown hero Muhamad Fuad Redzuan also on Monday for a seat in the semifinals.

The Filipinos dominated the boxing competition two years ago in Singapore with five gold medals.

This year, organizers scrapped women’s boxing and limited the men’s events to six.