Philippine losses in boxing arena, bad officiating sparked near riot

Philippine officials on Sunday said Thailand did not deserve the Southeast Asian Games men's boxing title, blaming bad officiating for its losses in all head-to-head final bouts with its main rival.

The losses sparked a near-riot at the University of St. La Salle gymnasium Saturday.

The Philippines and Thailand squared off in four men's gold medal bouts, and Philippines team manager Ruben Roque said the hosts deserved at least one more gold from either featherweight Joegen Ladon or light welterweight Romeo Brin.

"The crowd could see the scoring," said Roque. "We can take it if the decisions were good. For Brin, we definitely won that fight."

After three straight losses, fans hurled bottles, coins and food toward the ring, prompting the stoppage of the night's last fight between Filipino Reynaldo Galido, a former Asian Games winner, and Athens bronze medalist Suriya Prasathinpimai of Thailand.

Galido was down 11-4 after the first round, and it looked unlikely the points were going to come his way in the following rounds, Roque said.

"The decision to stop the fight (when crowd trouble began), was a good one," said Roque. "If we had continued, the trouble would have just gotten worse." Roque said decisions that went against Ladon and Brin were caused by bad judging, and nothing more.

Ladon lost 35-22 to Athens silver medalist Worapoj Petchkoom, despite knocking him down in the third round, while Brin ended his slugfest with defending gold medalist Pechai Sayota five points down.

Thai officials could not be immediately reached for comment. "I hope those who are accusing us of cheating realize how baseless their charges are," Manny Lopez, president of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines, was quoted as saying in the Philippine Star on Sunday. "We saw how some of the decisions went against us and didn't reflect what actually happened in the fights," said Lopez, reported AP.

Thailand won five boxing gold medals while the Philippines won four. P.T.

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