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Friday, December 14, 2007

Filipino fighters forfeit gold medal bouts in SEA Games protest

It is Thailand, one of the Asian Countries. It is the same game without shame, Thailand has always been playing the fake games. Thailand win win win for fake champions's shame. Gold medals?

NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand (AP): Filipino boxers forfeited six gold medal bouts at the Southeast Asian Games on Thursday in a protest against judging, and threatened not to compete in future editions of the event.

The forfeits in the men's finals came after judges for the women's finals on Wednesday awarded wins to host Thailand in all five bouts against Filipino opponents that were decided on points.

"We just wanted to send a message that some things have to be changed,'' said Manny Lopez, president of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines. "Our boys lost their courage and their energy to fight after our country was dishonored in the women's finals. Our boys were commiserating with their women teammates.

You shouldn't do that to women especially. The officiating was very biased, and my opinion will be concurred by all the other countries.''

Monico Puentevella, the head of the Philippines team at these SEA Games, said team officials met Wednesday night to decide how to protest the judging, and that it was left up to each individual boxer whether to forfeit.

"It's their call, but whatever their decision may be, we will fully support them,'' Puentevella said in a statement released to media. "We understand their situation, sympathize with them and believe they will do whatever is right.''

The vocal Thai crowd was puzzled when Godfrey Castro in the flyweight final threw up his hands at the opening bell and forfeited. When Junel Catancio did the same in the bantamweight final in the next scheduled bout, the crowd began to boo and abuse the visiting fighters.

Thereafter, the Filipinos chose to fight for short stints before retiring. Junie Tizon in the middleweight final and Maximino Tabangcora in the light heavyweight final both retired at the end of the first of four scheduled rounds. Orlando Tacuyan Jr. retired at the end of the second in the featherweights, and in the lightweight final Joegin Ladon quit during the first round.

Larry Semillano in the super lightweight final was the only Filipino fighter to contest his full bout, losing on points to 2004 Olympic gold medalist Manus Boonjumnong.

The judges at the Southeast Asian Games were from neutral countries, but Lopez said they could be influenced.

"Who invites these so-called neutral judges? The hosts. Who pays their airfare? The hosts. Who pays for their accommodation? The hosts,'' Lopez said. Thursday's forfeits further sullied the reputation of the Southeast Asian Games, where medal tallies heavily favor host nations, and threatened the future of boxing at the event.

"It's bad at the Southeast Asian level,'' Lopez said . "The way things are going, I am willing not to present my boys in the Southeast Asian Games anymore. We can meet Thailand in other events which are more reliable, like the Asian Games.

"We will do a lot of hard thinking about what will happen in the future.'' Unlike professional boxing where judges make qualitative decisions on which fighter won each round, amateur boxing is judged by computerized scoring of clear legal blows landed.

Each of the five judges has a red and a blue button which they press accordingly for each clear scoring blow they see. Three out of the five judges must press the button for the same boxer within one second in order for the point to be awarded.

The Filipino boxers were underdogs in all of Thursday's bouts, with their strong Thai opponents including Boonjumong, 2007 world championship silver medalist Non Boonjumnong, 2004 Olympic silver medalist Petchkoom Worapoj and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Suriya Prasathinphimai.

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