Filipino boxer Charly Suarez reached the finals (gold medal round) after beating Jordan’s Obada Mohammad Mustafa Alkasbeh on Thursday afternoon at the 17th Asian Games in Seonhak Gymnasium, Incheon, Korea.
Suarez won via split decision against the Jordanian boxer in the semifinals of the men’s lightweight division (60kg), making him the first Filipino boxer to vie for the gold medal in this year’s Asiad.
Other boxers Mark Anthony Barriga, Mario Fernandez, and Wilfredo Lopez will compete later in the day in the semifinal rounds of their respective weight divisions.
All of them are assured of medals as they qualified in the semis, but they are aiming to eclipse the one gold, one silver, and one bronze medal total of the boxing team in the 2010 Asian Games.
En route to the finals, Suarez defeated Elnur Abduraimov of Uzbekistan via split decision in the round of 32; then another split decision win over India’s Akhil Kumar in the round of 16.
Suarez assured himself of a bronze medal days ago after beating Iraq’s Anmar Jabbar Hasan Hasan in the quarterfinal round, which set him up in today’s semifinal bout against Obada Mohammad Mustafa Alkasbeh of Jordan.
He will face Mongolia’s Otgondalai Dorjnyambuu in tomorrow’s gold medal match.
Boxing is one of the strongest performing sports of the Philippines in the Asian Games, hauling a total of 15 gold, six silver, and 21 bronze since the country joined the Asiad in 1951.
In Guangzhou (2010) Asian Games, the Filipino boxers went home with 1 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze medals, with boxer Rey Saludar winning the gold in men’s flyweight division.