There will be no London Olympics for Charly Suarez after the Filipino boxer bowed to China's Qiang Liu, 11-15, in the finals of the lightweight division of the Asian Olympic Qualifying tournament in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Suarez had trouble with Qiang's height and reach advantage and couldn't get untracked in the first two rounds as the Chinese used his left hand effectively to ward off his opponent and set up some quick combinations. Qiang won the first round, 3-1, and the second, 5-3, to post a commanding 8-4 lead heading into the third and final frame.
Knowing he was behind on points, Suarez let it all hang out in the last round, rocking Qiang with some good jabs and combinations. The native of Davao and veteran of the World Series of Boxing was suddenly connecting with his shots with such ease that you had to wonder why he wasn't this aggressive in the first two rounds. Towards the end of the bout, Qiang had to take a medical break after blood began trickling out of his nose.
Suarez appeared to have at least narrowed the gap with that strong third round, but the judges called it an even 7-7, giving Qiang the four-point win and the lone lightweight ticket to London. The crowd at the Daulet Sports Complex could be heard booing the decision, but although the 7-7 scoreline in the third round was indeed eyebrow-raising, it was clear Qiang was the superior boxer in the first two rounds. Suarez wouldn't have been in such a difficult position heading into the final round if only he had found his range much earlier. To Qiang's credit, he used his longer reach to the hilt early on, forcing Suarez to fight from afar. By the time the Filipino decided to mix it up at close range, it was already too late.
Thus ended the Philippines' disappointing bid to send more boxers to the London Games, with flyweight Rey Saludar, welterweight Wilfredo Lopez, lightwelterweight Dennis Galvan and bantamweight Joegin Ladon all bowing out in either the first or second round.
Mark Anthony Barriga remains the lone Filipino male boxer to have secured a slot in the Olympics. The women's boxers get their chance next month when they vie in the AIBA Women's World Championships in Qinhuangdao, China.
As a whole, only six Filipino athletes have so far qualified for London. Aside from boxing's Barriga, athletics and swimming are assured of the mandatory one male athlete and one female athlete, while shooting has also been given one slot in what is shaping up to be one of the leanest Olympic delegations the country will ever send to the summer Games.
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