TAIPEI - The PLDT-ABAP team got off to an explosive start in the 2nd Taipei City International Boxing Tournament Wednesday with two of the four Filipino boxers scoring sensational knock-out wins.
The other two also won their respective bouts but light-flyweight (49 Kg) Rogen Ladon and light-welterweight (64 Kg) Joel Bacho wowed the good-sized crowd at the Taiwan Coliseum with their mastery of their respective opponents.
The 18-year-old Ladon, who was Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga's main sparring partner, stopped local bet Po-Wei Chiu late in the third round.
The young Taiwanese writhed in pain and was unable to beat the count.
Bacho, recruited by ABAP out of the Mandaluyong team only last year, also registered an abbreviated win against Korea's Kim Hyeok, scoring an emphatic knock-out win in the second round of their bantamweight match.
In the distaff side, Irish Magno, who has been training for the past three years in the shadows of better-known boxers in her weight category such as the now-retired Annie Albania, Ana Lisa Cruz, Alice Kate Aparri and Nesthy Petecio, finally got her first crack at international exposure and celebrated it with a 9-3 trashing of Taipei City's Chiu Ching Ya.
Mario Fernandez of Aglayan, Bukidnon, another first-timer in international competition, impressed many boxing observers here with his slick moves and fiery combinations as he made mince-meat out of Korean Go Gi Chang, winning in lop-sided fashion, 24-2.
Three other young boxers will see international action for the first time- lightweight (60 Kg) Darwin Tindahan of Bukidnon, Puerto Princesa's Maricris Igam in the women's 48 Kg class and Janice Vallares (60) of Misamis Oriental.
Abap president Ricky Vargas said the participation of the young boxers in the tournament which drew 12 countries, was part of the national sports association's development program.