By WAYLON GALVEZ
Josie Gabuco was assured of a bronze medal in the women’s light flyweight after earning an outright semis berth in the ASBC Elite Men and Women Boxing Championships Monday night in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The good news came after Gabuco secured a bye due to lack of entries in her division.
She will face the winner of the quarterfinal match between Rasmika Ilangarathha of Sri Lanka and Gulasal Sultonalieva of Uzbekistan set on Thursday.
Meantime, John Paul Panuayan and Jere Samuel Dela Cruz secured quarterfinal slots after dominating their preliminary round rivals.
Dela Cruz won against Sri Lanka’s Jeewantha Wimukthi Kumara, 4-1, in their lightweight division bout, while Panuayan dominated Majid Alnaqbi of the UAE 5-0 in the light welterweight class.
Marvin Tabamo, on the other hand, fell short as he suffered a 3-2 loss against Ramish of Afghanistan in the flyweight division, the first Filipino casualty in the week-long event.
With the win, Panuayan arranged a quarterfinal clash against top seed Tajikistan fighter Bakhodur Usmonov, who earned a bye in the first round, set Tuesday night – just 24 hours after the initial match.
Dela Cruz, meantime, clashes against Varinder Singj of India in the quarterfinal match Wednesday night.
The other Filipino fighters seeing action starting at 6 p.m. in Dubai (10 p.m. in Manila) are Mark Lester Durens and Junmilardo Ogayre in the men’s division, and Maricel dela Torre in the women’s side.
Durens collides against Mansour Khalefah of Kuwait in the light flyweight class, Ogayre tests Rukmal Prasanna of Sri Lanka in the bantamweight division, and dela Torre meets Huswatun Hasanah of Indonesia in women’s lightweight.
Tokyo Olympics-bound boxer Eumir Marcial is also participating in this event and already is in the quarterfinal as he earned a bye as the top seed fighter in the 75kg middleweight category.
Marcial will face Mongolia’s Otgonbaatar Byamba-Erdene, who earned a 4-1 win opposite Iraq’s Ridha Talib Jabbar.