PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — Filipino Olympic hopeful Joan Tipon fought as cold as the Chicago weather and crashed out right on the first day of the World Amateur Boxing championships here.
Tipon, gold medalist in the bantamweight division during the Doha Asian Games last year, lost to a very familiar foe in Worapoj Petchkoom of Thailand on points (5-13) on Tuesday night.
In case you don’t know, Worapoj is the same Thai fighter whom the Filipino beat for the gold medal in the Doha Asiad.
And in case you’ve forgotten, Tipon is the same Filipino hopeful who lost on points to Orlando Tacuyan during the National Open tournament held in Cagayan de Oro City early this month.
At press time, another Filipino,light- welterweight Delfin Boholst, is still fighting Chinese Mai Maititusunqiong at the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavilion.
Cheered by Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez, 1970 Asian Games boxing gold medalist Ricardo Fortaleza and a handful of Filipino-Americans, Tipon was unable to find his range against Worapoj.
“Well, that’s boxing,” said Ramirez. “It’s not the end of the world for him and the rest of the national boxing team.”
Ramirez, however, noted that the pride of Talisay City had a tentative start which enabled the Thai to find his groove early. Tipon is expected to seek an Olympic slot next year in the Asian qualifiers either in Bangkok, Thailand or Kazakhstan.
Fortaleza, who flew all the way from Sydney , Australia to support the nationals said that Tipon failed to sustain his attack in the later rounds.
“The Thai likes to clinch and Joan wasn’t really able to press the action. Power is nothing in amateur boxing. It’s a mind game,” said Fortaleza , who also hit the “biased” scoring of the judges.
“Terrible. The Thai didn’t even throw a punch, yet getting the scores,” said Fortaleza .
By the end of the third round, the Thai was ahead, 9-5. Tipon made one last try to overhaul the lead but Worapoj wisely stayed away from trouble by clinching and dancing.
National head coach Pat Gaspi admitted defeat. “That’s not the true Tipon,” said Gaspi.
Following the draw held earlier at the Palmer House Hilton, the organizers decided to shuffle the schedule. Originally, Tipon wasn’t scheduled to box Tuesday but learned of the new sked after the draw.
Fighting next for the RP-PLDT-Smart team is featherweight Charly Suarez, who will be tested by Mongolian veteran Zorigbaatar Enkhzarig Wednesday.
Suarez is a rookie in the World Championshp like Tipon, Boholst, lightweight Genebert Basadre and welterweight Willie Lopez.
Flyweight Violito Payla, the other Doha gold medalist, fights Andrew Selby of Wales , Basadre battles Bulgarian favorite Kolev Ognyan and Lopez debuts versus Velibor Vedic on Oct.15.