Ladon Moves to Snatch 5th Gold in Boxing
JAKARTA—Rogen Ladon dominated Thailand’s Yuttapong Tongdee, 5-0, in a men’s flyweight semifinal on Friday to move one victory shy of snatching the Philippines fifth gold medal in the 18th Asian Games.
Ladon, a Rio de Janeiro Olympian, did just what his coaches instructed him to do—and innovating on some of his punches—to score the lopsided victory that kept the Philippine delegation on its feet bracing for another celebration before the Games end on Sunday.
Ladon fights for the gold medal Uzbeklistan’s Jasurbek Latipov, who elimnated Kazakhstan’s Azat Uzenaliev, 4-1, in the other semifinal at the Jakarta International Expo Boxing Hall.
The gold medal match is set at 2:15 p.m. (3:15 p.m. in Manila) on Saturday with Ladon hoping to bring home the country’s fifth gold after weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, skateboarder Margielyn Didal and golfers Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Louise Kaye Go.
“I just followed my coaches’ instructions—to make full use of my straights,” said the 24-year-old Ladon, who moved one division up in weight for these Games.
“In the first round, I tried to get the feel of his [Thai] strategy and come the second round, my jab-straights found their marks,” said Ladon, who was immediately congratulated by Philippine Olympic Committee President Ricky Vargas and Chairman Abraham Tolentino.
Ladon was one of three Filipinos eyeing final slots in boxing later on Friday. The others were light flyweight Carlo Paalam against India’s one-name boxer Amit at 6:15 p.m. and middlewight Eumir Felix Marcial opposite Uzbekistan’s Israel Madrimov at 7:45 p.m., both Jakarta time.
“I sort of confused the Thai by changing Rogen’s style in the first round,” men’s head coach Ronald Chaves said. “The instruction was to tease the opponent with his right and deliver the left straight.”
“In the first round alone, we knew Rogen had the Thai under control,” Chavez added.
Tongdee was a rugged customer but in all three rounds, Rogen—who is fighting with a three-fourth-inch cut in his right eyebrow and another cut, although short, in his nose bridge he sustained in his first bout—was the more stable fighter.
Alliance of Boxing Associations in the Philippines Secretary General Ed Picson praised Ladon for having made full use of his experience.
“Rogen is a veteran of the World Championships and the Olympics. And he showed everybody how it is to be a veteran of those tournaments,” Picson said.
“He established control because of his composure,” added Picson, who revealed that a Thai boxing official approached him and virtually conceded the fight to Ladon.
“It’s a perfect decision for Rogen to go up in weight—he kept on winning silvers at 49 kgs, so we told him ‘enough of those silvers,” he added.
Against the Uzbek, both Chavez and Picson said they expect a thrilling fight between soutpaws. But Ladon, they said, would be more comfortable against a fellow left-hander.
“The Uzbek is a fighter, too. But he can’t take Rogen for granted,” Picson said. “Rogen is more determined. And he promised all of us to get the gold.”
Ladon, Marcial and Paalam were the last three boxers standing for the Philippines before Friday’s semifinals. Joel Bacho, Mario Fernandez, James Palicte, Nesthy Petecio and Irish Magno all exited in the preliminaries.