JOSIE Gabuco steamrolle­d past Diem Kieu Thi of Vietnam for a unanimous decision win en route to the finals of the boxing women’s light flyweight division in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games Friday at the PICC Forum.

A four-time SEA Games gold medalist, Gabuco landed shots at will forcing Thi to cower behind the clinch in the second round.

Thi continued to clinch Gabuco in the third but the Filipino champion would have none of it pushing away the Vietnamese away to create distance and continue her offensive onslaught.

Gabuco said she is hyped up to be competing once again in the SEA Games stage after Malaysia took away the women’s boxing competitio­n in 2017.

“We really prepared for this competitio­n because we didn’t have an event in the 2017 SEA Games and coach [Nolito Velasco] told us that he wants us to produce gold medals this year,” said Gabuco in Filipino.

A World champion in 2012, Gabuco is leaving it all on the line in the gold medal match on Dec. 9.

“I’m going to fight until the end, kill or be killed because this is the last fight,” said Gabuco.

“I’ll leave it all on the ring becwause we’ve been training so long for this,” added Gabuco, whose team also trained with the Laotian and Australian nationals heading into the SEA Games.

Meanwhile, Carlo Paalam found his retributio­n after scoring a unanimous decision win over Malaysia’s

Muhamad Redzuan, 5-0, to barge into boxing men’s light flyweight final. Redzuan was the same boxer who eliminated Paalam in the 2017 SEA Games and relegated the 21-year-old Filipino to a bronze medal finish.

With vengeance in mind, Paalam showcased his fire early on in their semifinals match, knocking down Redzuan in the early part of the first round. Paalam’s offense slowed down a bit in the second round but his defense was still impenetrab­le as he dodged and blocked whatever Redzuan mustered.

“Yes, I was pumped up for this fight because I wanted to avenge my loss,” said Paalam in Filipino. “But we don’t hold the judges’ decision so what I did was do my part and train hard for this fight.”

“I just implemente­d our game plan wisely because he beat me in

Malaysia in my first SEA Games. The result was cooked up so I wanted to get back at him.”


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