KUALA LUMPUR – Three Filipino boxers will go for gold in the finals of the men’s boxing competition of the 29th Southeast Asian Games Thursday at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Center here.
First to step on the ring for a record third consecutive gold medal is Mario Fernandez, who will clash with Chatchai Butdee of Thailand in the finals of the bantamweight category.
Then, it will be Marcial’s turn to shoot for glory when he faces another Thai in Pathomsak Kuttiya in the middleweight class.
Filipino-British Marvin John Tupas will round up the Philippines’ finals campaign when he goes head-to-head against Adli Hapidz Bin Mohd Fauzi of Malaysia in the light heavyweight class.
Alliance of Boxing Association of the Philippines (Abap) executive director Ed Picson said Fernandez is already quite familiar with his Thai foe and he is eager to avenge his previous setback, which was brought by his eye operation.
“It’s a new turning point in Mario’s bantamweight but they met in Bangkok last April and lost Mario,” said Picson. “But that was Mario’s first fight since he was diagnosed with cataracts.”
Also tipped to go all out is Marcial, who had to forego his chances for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics just to defend his SEA Games title.
Hopes are high for Marcial, who won the 2011 Junior World Championships as a flyweight in Astana, Kazakhstan and the 2013 Asian Amateur Boxing Championships as light welterweight in Subic Bay, after he knocked out Indran Rama Krishnan of Malaysia to secure a spot in the finals.
With three boxers already assured of silver medal, only three boxers in Charly Suarez, Carlo Paalam and Ian Clark Bautista failed to survive for the vaunted national boxing squad.