Ian Clark Bautista forced his fancied Japanese opponent Hayato Tsutsumi into close quarters and relied on his short power punches to earn the nod of three of the five judges on opening day of the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament Tuesday in Amman, Jordan.
Bautista, a 25 year old Philippine Navy seaman, pounded away in the second and third rounds even as he narrowly lost the initial canto in this action-packed bout against the 21 year-old Japanese who is a Youth World Champion (2016) and two-time Asian Youth champion.
“I really focused on this fight. My opponent is strong and good but I really forced myself to get this win because I know this is my opportunity to make the Olympics,” said Bautista in Filipino.
He faces another tough challenge in his second bout on Friday, against Thailand’s Chatchai Butdee, who defeated him in the 30th Southeast Asian Games in Manila last December.
Head coach Ronald Chavez however said that if the boxer from Negros Occidental fights the way he did against the Japanese, he could well exact revenge on the Thai pug, a former Olympian.
Wednesday sees world women’s featherweight champion Nesthy Petecio facing Sri Lanka’s Kirismi Langkapurayalage, and Riza Pasuit meeting Saya Hamamoto of Japan.
The tournament ends on March 11.
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