OLYMPIC  BOXING:  TAŅAMOR  BOOSTS  PINOY  BID

ATHENS
,  August 20, 2004  (MALAYA) Swift-striking light flyweight Harry Tanamor of the Philippines held Tajikistan's Sherali Dostiev at bay with sharp right-left combinations to the face Wednesday night to win 17-12 and gain the second round of the Olympic Games boxing competition at the Persiteri Hall here.

A southpaw, Tanamor repeatedly parried Dostiev's attacks from the start and used his long arms and quick hands to land solid punches in the fourth to seal the victory.

Considered by the US magazine Sports Illustrated as a hot medal prospect, Tanamor led by two points in the first and one each in the second and third before outscoring his pesky rival 5-1in the final round.

"Nanibago ako," said the 27-year-old Tanamor, who qualified last among the four RP boxers in the final Asian eliminations in Pakistan. "Masyado sigurong excited."

Tanamor actually bloodied Dostiev's nose in the first round with a hard left straight. After that, the Tajikistan fighter slowed down a bit.

"Maganda ang mga pa-tama," said former Mayor Mel Lopez, who is helping the Filipinos' campaign here because his son Manny, the boxing president, is a jury member. "Maganda rin ang galaw at makikita mo na talagang confident siya."

Tanamor, a gold medalist in the Vietnam Southeast Asian Games last December, goes up against South Korea's Hong Moo Won in the second round on Saturday. Won stopped Lalaina Rabenarivo of Madagascar in the third round.

The only other Filipino pug remaining in the competition, light welterweight Romeo Brin, was scheduled to meet Thailand's Manus Boonjumnong Thursday night. Brin is a three-time Olympian, having previously competed in the Atlanta and Sydney Olympics.

Middleweight Christopher Camat and flyweight Violito Payla both dropped their first round assignments.

Even with only two boxers left, boxing head Manny Lopez is optimistic about his boys' medal chances.

"Laban kami all the way," the young Lopez said. "They're well prepared and they're in top physical and psychological condition."

Boxing has produced the Philippines' last three Olympic medals, dating back to the Seoul Games in 1988, when Leopoldo Serrantes bagged a bronze. Roel Velasco also won a bronze in 1992 in Barcelona and then his brother, Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco, brought home a silver from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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