3 more Filipino boxers advance to SEAG semis

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Newcomver Marvin John Tupas reigns supreme over naturalized Cambodian Felix Martinez, securing a guaranteed bronze for the country. (photo from PSC)
By Ariel Ian Clarito

MANILA -- Three more Filipino boxers made the semifinals as the bouts continued in the SEA Games, as they now guaranteed a total of five bronzes earlier today.

Barely 24 hours after scoring a rousing first round TKO, bantamweight Mario Fernandez climbed up the ring anew for his quarterfinal bout with Vietnam’s Tran Phu Cuong. Showing no signs of fatigue, Fernandez put on another impressive showing as he peppered the Vietnamese with combinations en route to a unanimous decision win. Fernandez thus moved closer to a possible third straight SEAG gold

The Philippines’ elder statesman, light-welterweight Charly Suarez also earned for himself a semifinal ticket with a victory over Malaysia’s Khir Akyazlan Azmi. Suarez, who is a London Olympian and a member of the national team since 2007, punished the Malaysian with stinging body blows and appeared to have controlled the entire fight but was not able to get the nod from all the judges as he merely earned a 4-1 split decision over the hometown boy. Still, it was enough for Suarez to gain a sure bronze with a chance to fight for a spot in the finals.

Light-heavyweight Marvin John Tupas was as good as advertised as he turned what was expectd to be a close fight against naturalized Cambodian Felix Merlin Martinez into a one-sided affair. Martinez, who is originally from boxing hotbed Cuba, got a taste of the power of Tupas early in the fight when a devastating right hand sent the Cambodian down in what the referee did not rule as a knockdown.

But then on, Tupas was on full attack mode the rest of the fight as he dropped Martinez again in the second and third rounds. Tupas thus ensured for himself a medal in his debut international campaign for the Philippines.

The country's good standing in boxing took a massive hit when light-flyweight Carlo Paalam fell to Muhamad Fuad Redzuan of Malaysia on questionable unanimous decision.

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