After Marcial, Magno also clinches Olympic berth


FILE – The Philippines’ Irish Magno, right, hits Singapore’s Leona Hui during their women’s flyweight (51kg) boxing match at the 30th Southeast Asian Games in Manila, Philippines on Wednesday Dec. 4, 2019. Magno won the match. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

MANILA, Philippines — Irish Magno gave 19-year-old Sumaiya Qosimova a neat boxing clinic in the Asia and Oceania Olympic Boxing Qualification Tournament in Amman, Jordan Wednesday night to seize a spot in the coming Tokyo Olympics.

Asserting herself at the onset, Magno was hardly threatened by Tajikistan’s national flyweight champion to dominate their qualification box-off and claim the sixth and final Olympic slot in her division.

Qosimova, visibly slender than the 28-year-old Filipina, had a spirited performance in the next round, but Magno, a heavy-handed hitter, again found her mark as the round went on, giving the judges no reason to doubt the outcome.

But instead of letting her guard down, Magno pressed on and pummeled Qosimova with heavy shots as her confidence grew when the closing minute of the final round came.

Carlo Paalam, likewise vying for an Olympic berth, wasn’t as fortunate after the country’s finest slugger in the flyweight division fell short against a rangy Saken Bibossinov of Kazakhstan.

Bibossinov, easily three inches taller than Paalam, maximized his length and gave the Filipino a difficult time to connect with his fists.

Trailing after two rounds, Paalam went on a rampage, throwing punches in wanton abandon in a bid to stop Bibossinov, but time, sadly, wasn’t on his side.

Magno thus joined fellow boxer Eumir Felix Marcial, pole vaulter EJ Obiena and gymnast Carlos Yulo in the Tokyo Olympics.

Paalam, the reigning Southeast Asian Games champ, still has a chance to secure a spot in the Olympics through another qualifying meet in the World Boxing Championships in Paris, France on May 13-24.

As if a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics isn’t enough, Marcial intends to go all the way to the top of the men’s middleweight class.
Marcial’s split-decision victory over India’s Ashish Kumar in the semifinals booked the 25-year-old slugger from Zamboanga City a seat in the gold-medal match.

Already assured of a berth in this year’s Olympics, Marcial faces Kazakhstan’s Abilkhan Amankul in the finale on Friday.

Marcial, a silver medalist in the 2019 world championships, gained authority at the beginning of the bout before Kumar recoveredin the second round with an aggressive stance.

Kumar even connected a jarring left during a fierce exchange in the third and final round, but the judges gave more credence on Marcial’s ability to control the entire the fight.

The Pinoy middleweight gold medalist during the last year’s Southeast Asian Games earned a spot in the Olympics after an RSC triumph over Mongolia’s Byamba Erden Otgonbaatar in the third round of their quarterfinal clash.

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