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Sports

Payla steps up RP bid vs Uzbek

- Lito Tacujan -
ATHENS (Via Globe Telecom) — The last time he met the guy, he completely dominated him and the thought will surely fire up flyweight Violito Payla in his opening round bout against Uzbekistan’s Tulashboy Doniorov at the Pereistero boxing hall.

The hard-hitting Payla had actually mastered the 23-year-old Uzbek two times in their head-to-head duel, the first in the first round in the Busan Games and the other in the semifinals of the Asian qualifier in Puerto Princesa.

But that was then, this is now.

"Alam na natin ang laro niya pero lahat ng panalo niya walang kahulugan dahil
Olympics na ito, iba na ang laban," said national coach Nolito Velasco.

Payla, 25, a Cagayan de Oro native, will slug it out with Doniorov in the evening session of the flyweight category considered one of the toughest in the Athens boxing event.

His bid comes on the heels of light welterweight Romeo Brin’s decisive 43-35 triumph over Sweden’s Patrick Bogere that put the Philippine campaign back in motion following middleweight Chris Camat’s loss Saturday.

Payla and the rest of the boxing team remained secluded in the athlete’s village and inaccessible to the media to keep the fighters’ full concentration and preparation for the mission ahead.

"Nasa kundisyon si Payla pero hindi siya magpapabaya,"
said former Manila mayor Mel Lopez, who acts as team leader with his son and boxing chief Manny Lopez a member of the jury here.

Payla repeated his win over Doniorov in the Puerto Princesa qualifier where he posted a 24-12 point decision in the semifinals. The Filipino slugger would claim the gold at the expense of Korean Ki Suk Kim.

"Magandang laban pero di dapat tayo magtiwala,"
said Velasco.

Kim himself will see action against world champion Somjit Jongjohor of Thailand while Yoriookis Gamboa Toledano of Cuba will met Igor Samoilonko of Moldova in two featured fights.

Former world champion and Sydney bronze medallist Jerome Thomas will press his bid against India’s Akhil Kumar while Bradly Hore of Australia takes on the flamboyant Ron Siler of the United States.

Another Filipino pug, light flyweight Harry Tañamor, makes his Olympic debut against Tajikistan’s Sherali Dostiev on Wednesday while Brin faces off with tough Manus Boonjumnong of Thailand on Thursday.

Tañamor, seeded by the prestigious Sports Illustrated magazine to make the medal bouts, is one of the brightest hopes of the compact Philippine delegation to end 80 years of frustration in the Games.

Meanwhile, swimmer James Walsh failed to advance in the men’s 200-m butterfly, making a time of 2:06.76 as he finished fifth in the first heat.

Miguel Molina, who earlier competed in the 400-m IM and 200-m will return to action in the 200-m breaststroke while archer Jasmin Figueroa, who pulled off archery’s biggest upset over former world champion Natalia Valeeva, will meet Spain’s Allumeda Gallardo in the round of 32 at the historic Panathanaiko Stadium. The 17-year-old Walsh, a freshman at the University of Florida, also failed to improve his personal best of 2:04.13.

AKHIL KUMAR

ALLUMEDA GALLARDO

ANOTHER FILIPINO

BRADLY HORE OF AUSTRALIA

BUSAN GAMES

CHRIS CAMAT

DONIOROV

HARRY TA

IGOR SAMOILONKO OF MOLDOVA

PAYLA

PUERTO PRINCESA

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