TAMPERE, FINLAND—The hunt for four October gold medals is on for the PLDT-Abap national boxing team in the 31st Tammer Cup here.
Flyweight Rey Saludar joined his younger brother Victorio and two other RP teammates in the finals with an 8-5 victory over Ireland’s Declan Gerraghty in their 52 kg semifinal bout late Saturday at the Pyynikin Palloiluhallissa Sports Hall.
Victorio Saludar and the dynamic duo of Charly Suarez and Delfin Boholst earlier reached the championship round with impressive semifinal wins to set up a glittering shot at what could be the country’s richest medal harvest ever in this prestigious tournament.
The younger Saludar, a 19-year-old prodigy from Davao del Norte, rallied from a 1-0 deficit to shock Russian Artem Ivaschenko, 4-1, in their 48 kg fight.
Suarez showed too much class against Finnish Petteri Frojdholm, 7-2, in their 56 kg duel and Boholst broke the hearts of the hometown crowd a second time by shutting down Jarkko Putkonen, 6-0, in the 64 kg class.
“A great effort by our boxers, truly inspiring and heartwarming,” said Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines executive director Ed Picson. “I hope they do well in the finals.
Victorio Saludar will face England’s Charlie Edwards in the finals, while Suarez will go up against Finland’s Matti Koota. Boholst’s opponent had yet to be determined.
All final bouts will start at 9 p.m. Sunday (Manila time).
Rey Saludar started cautiously and trailed, 1-0. But he quickly equalized, scoring with heavy head and body shots to take a 2-1 lead en route to the smashing victory.
The trip here is the last leg of the “Road to Asian Games” blueprint designed by Abap president Ricky Vargas and given all-out support by business mogul Manny V. Pangilinan, chair of Abap and telecoms giant PLDT.