Panuayan, dela Cruz in ASBC quarterfinal

Published May 25, 2021, 3:02 PM

by Waylon Galvez

The national boxing team, led by Tokyo Olympics-bound fighter Eumir Marcial, third from left, prior to the start of the ASBC Elite Men and Women Boxing Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo from Eumir Felix DS Marcial’s Facebook’s account)

Filipino boxers John Paul Panuayan and Jere Samuel Dela Cruz secured slots in the quarterfinals after they scored convincing wins in the preliminary round of the ASBC Elite Men and Women Boxing Championships Monday night, May 24 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Dela Cruz won against Sri Lanka’s Jeewantha Wimukthi Kumara 4-1 in their lightweight division bout, while Panuayan dominated Majid Alnaqbi of the UAE 5-0 in the light welterweight class.

Marvin Tabamo, on the other hand, fell short as he suffered a 3-2 loss against Ramish of Afghanistan in the flyweight division, the first Filipino casualty in the weeklong event.

The win of Panuayan arranged a quarterfinal clash against top seed Tajikistan fighter Bakhodur Usmonov, who earned a bye in the first round, set Tuesday night – just 24 hours after the initial match.

“It’s still too early to celebrate. Tough fights are ahead,” said Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP) secretary-general Ed Picson. “Tonight our boxer Panuayan faces the No. 1 seed from Tajikistan.”

Dela Cruz, meantime, clashes against Varinder Singj of India in the quarterfinal match Wednesday night.

The other Filipino fighters seeing action starting at 6 p.m. in Dubai (10 p.m. in Manila) are Mark Lester Durens and Junmilardo Ogayre in the men’s division, and Maricel dela Torre in the women’s side.

Durens collides against Mansour Khalefah of Kuwait in the light flyweight class, Ogayre tests Rukmal Prasanna of Sri Lanka in the bantamweight division, and dela Torre meets Huswatun Hasanah of Indonesia in women’s lightweight.

Tokyo Olympics-bound boxer Eumir Marcial is also participating in this event and has earned a bye to the quarterfinals as the top seed fighter in the 75kg middleweight category.

Marcial will face Mongolia’s Otgonbaatar Byamba-Erdene, who earned a 4-1 win opposite Iraq’s Ridha Talib Jabbar.

Marcial is using this event as part of his preparation for the Tokyo Olympics scheduled July 23 to August 8. He secured a spot in the Games early last year via the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Amman, Jordan.

He is the only Tokyo Olympics-bound boxer of the national team in the ASBC after the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP) opted not to send the other three Olympians in Nesthy Petecio, Irish Magno and Carlo Paalam in Dubai due to quarantine reasons under the COVOD-19 protocols.

Meanwhile, Josie Gabuco has earned a bye and is already in the semifinal of the women’s light flyweight. She will face the winner of the quarterfinal match between Rasmika Ilangarathha of Sri Lanka and Gulasal Sultonalieva of Uzbekistan set on Thursday.

Aside from the boxers, also in Dubai are ABAP coaches and officials, which include men’s coaches Roel Velasco, Joegin Ladon and Marcus Jarwin Manalo, and women’s coaches Mitchel Martinez and Ludy Therese Ceriales.