It was a perfect three-for-three for the Philippine national boxing team, as they ushered in their 2017 Southeast Asian Games campaign at the jampacked MITEC Hall 9, Sunday afternoon.
Starting off the win streak was 2015 flyweight gold medalist, Ian Clark Bautista, who survived the hostile home crowd and their feisty fighter Abdul Salam B. Kasim, to secure a unanimous decision win.
The 22-year old seasoned boxer from Binalbagan, Negros Occidental had a strong start, going hard against the Malaysian with punches to both the head and the body, to eventually get the judges’ nods and the assured bronze.
With past experiences on his mind, Bautista shared that he had tried to go for the knockdown to avoid any controversial hometown decision. Only the Malaysian was a tough opponent to bring down.
“Ninenerbyos po ako kapag nagsisigawan na ang mga tao. Pero mas natakot ako kasi baka maiba ang desisyon ng mga judges kaya pinilit kong pabagsakin sya. Kaya lang matibay talaga,” the flyweight said.
Mario Fernandez and Eumir Marcial followed Bautista’s lead and also advanced to their respective next rounds.
Fernandez stopped Burmese foe Maung Nge in just the first round of their bantamweight match with a technical knockout. On his part, Marcial scored a standing eight-count against Nguyen Mahn Cuong. This helped the middleweight score a victory to also move into the semifinal.