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Phal Sophat chasing gold

091216_22c
Cambodian featherweight Phal Sophat will fight for the gold medal in Thursday’s final.

Kingdom’s first-ever boxing finalist will face Filipino Suarez Charly

VIENTIANE

PHAL Sophat became the first ever Cambodian boxer to reach a SEA Games final round Tuesday, when he beat Indonesia’s Arenaldo Moniaga 6-5 on points in their men’s featherweight (57kg) bout.

“I’m so happy that I can beat the Indonesian who won over hosts Laos in the quarterfinal,” said Phal Sophat. “Now I’m on the way to a gold medal, but it will be a hard work for me. I’ll fight against Filipino [Suarez Charly] on Thursday in the final. However, as a boxer I’m not worried. I will prepare [for the final] in the same way I always do: training regularly and listening to the coach.”

Also Tuesday, two more Cambodians lost in their semifinals to claim bronze medals. Ven Diaman, who lost his pinweight (45kg) fight 2-13 to Vicera Bill, recognised the strength of his opponent. “He has a great speed,” said the Cambodian of his Filipino opponent. “I was in the difficult situation to defend myself.”

Cambodian boxing fans were incensed by apparent bias when referees ignored scoring jabs by Svay Ratha to the face of Vietnam’s Pham Son Tung during their light welterweight (64kg) semifinal. The Vietnamese fighter was awarded the win with a 6-4 scoreline, leaving the Cambodian disappointed but satisfied with his performance.

The Kingdom has tallied four bronzes from the boxing competition, and Phal Sophat is guaranteed at least a silver on Thursday.

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