Philippine team in Budapest is made up of (from left) flyweight Jima Baja, flyweight Nino Anduyan, bantamweight Pitt Laurente, team manager Jeaneth Aro, lightflyweight Russu Laurente, coach Elias Recaido and coach Pat Gaspi. Behind are fighter Michael Muskita and coach Ronald Sigarlaki from the Indonesian delegation.
Criztian Pitt Laurente stays in gold hunt
Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - August 28, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Bantamweight Criztian Pitt Laurente decisioned Iran’s Daniyal Shahbakhsh, 4-1, in the quarterfinals of the AIBA World Youth Championships at the Dunn Arena in Budapest last Sunday and will battle Uzbek nemesis Abdumalik Khalokov in the semifinals today for a chance to go for gold.

Laurente is now assured of a bronze medal in the competition which brought in 359 fighters from 65 countries battling for honors in 10 weight classes for men and women in the 17-18 age group. 

Before Shahbakhsh, the General Santos City southpaw outpointed Kyrgyzstan’s Sanzhai Seidekmatov, 4-1 and India’s Akash Kumar, 4-0. Against the Iranian, Laurente got the nod of judges Ramie Al Masri of Germany, Alisher Altayev of Kazakhstan, Wulfren Olivares of Colombia and Cem Taylen Dunar of the Netherlands who all scored it 29-28. The dissenting vote came from Taipei’s Chang Yu Ling who saw it 29-28 for Shahbakhsh.

Laurente is the only fighter in the Filipino contingent still in contention. Women’s flyweight Jima Baja and lightflyweight Criz Russu Laurente lost in their opening bouts while flyweight Nino Anduyan hurdled his first opponent Tamas Borsos of Hungary via a 4-1 decision then bowed to Morocco’s Bader Berhili on a 3-2 split verdict.

It will be a rematch between Laurente and Khalokov who faced off in the Asian Youth final in Bangkok last April. Khalokov took the gold, decisioning Laurente, 5-0. But this time, Laurente said while not guaranteeing a win, he’ll use his smarts to outbox the Uzbek the way Shahbakhsh fell.

“Sinikap ni Pitt na sirain ang diskarte ni Shahbakhsh,” said coach Elias Recaido. “Parehas silang kaliwete pero ginamit niya ang bilis at stamina para manalo. First round, malayo ang advantage ni Pitt. Sa second round, medyo sumabay ang kalaban. Pag-dating ng last round, pagod na silang parehas pero si Pitt ipipilit pa. Umaabante ang kalaban pero hindi naman sumusuntok. Kaya nilaro na siya ng husto ni Pitt at binuhos ang lahat ng lakas niya.”

Coach Pat Gaspi said Shahbakhsh was no easy foe because he had previously taken out fighters from the US and Mauritius. “Ginawa niya lahat para makausad sa semis,” said Gaspi. “Matitibay ang mga kalaban. Nag-congratulate kami sa kaniya dahil malakas ang kaniyang tinalo. Ginamit niya ang kanyang advantage which is bilis. Malaki ang chance ni Pitt sa semifinals. Kayang-kaya ni Pitt patamaan si Khalokov. Importante na gawin ang kanyang laro at manatili ang lakas niya. Sanay na itong bata sa pressure dahil beterano na sa competition. Nag-gold siya sa Children of Asia Championships sa Russia noong 2017.”

Team manager and nutritionist Jeaneth Aro said she makes sure Laurente is hydrated and nourished.

“Before the weigh-in, his last meal would be dinner,” she said. “The weigh-in area is 15-20 minutes away from our hotel. I make baon for Pitt, protein carb drink and fit bar. Upon arriving at the hotel, we eat breakfast together. I make him eat a high carb, moderate protein and low fat meal. Since Pitt loves bread, I give him white bread with scrambled eggs. I don’t allow him to eat sausages kahit madami dito. This is on fight day.

“Before we go to the venue, I prep his recovery drink and recovery food. The recovery food is high in carbs and has moderate protein and very low in fat. Usually, a sandwich of his liking. Kung minsan cheese sandwich ginagawa ko.

“For the fight against Shahbakhsh, he requested something sweet so I made a jam sandwich then gave him a boiled egg. Kung anong gusto niyang pagkain, binibigay ko pero nag-compromise kami sa level na pwede at kailangan ng katawan niya.”

Laurente, 18, is a two-time Palarong Pambansa gold medalist. He comes from a family of boxers as his uncle and brother Russu are also fighters.

Laurente is more experienced than Khalokov with 163 fights since 2009 compared to the Uzbek’s 80 bouts since 2012. He’ll be out not only for a spot in the final but also for revenge in the rematch with Khalokov.

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