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Pitt Laurente settles for bronze

PhilStar Global logo PhilStar Global 8/29/2018 Joaquin M. Henson

MANILA, Philippines — Vengeance wasn’t Criztian Pitt Laurente’s as the General Santos City bantamweight failed to exact payback on Uzbekistan’s Abdumalik Khalokov in their semifinal showdown at the AIBA World Youth Championships in Budapest last Tuesday.

Khalokov outpointed Laurente, 5-0, in the final of the Asian Youth Championships in Bangkok last April and they were destined to face off again for a ticket to the World Youth final in the Hungarian capital. In the rematch, the outcome was the same as Khalokov pounded out a 5-0 verdict, leaving Laurente with the bronze. Three judges saw it a shutout with Jeffery Adnan Verhoeven of Canada and Cem Taylan Dunar of the Netherlands scoring 30-26 and Jeffrey Friedman of the US, 30-27. The two other judges Hichem Menchaoui of Tunisia and Kam Naklam of Thailand had it 29-28.

Laurente was more aggressive than he was in Bangkok but the effort still wasn’t enough to topple Khalokov who appeared to lose steam down the stretch and leaned on an early cushion to seal it. “Sinubukan ko siya sabayan,” said Laurente. “Dati kasi, tinakbuhan ko. Ngayon, alam ko, mas nahirapan siya sa akin.”

Coach Elias Recaido said Laurente fell short of adding more volume to his punches. “Medyo nag-improve si Pitt at nasabayan niya si Khalokov kaso kulang sa follow-up,” he said. “Sinabihan namin siya na pagkatapos ng isang tama, kailangan sundan at huwag siya umatras. Maganda naman ang laro ni Pitt. Nakatama siya sa kalaban but dapat naging more aggressive siya.”

Khalokov’s length was a problem for Pitt as he had difficulty forcing exchanges from close range. “Magaling din ang kalaban at mahaba ang kamay,” said Recaido. “Magaling dumistansya at mautak siya lumaro. Nakuha niya kaagad ang diskarte ni Pitt sa first round pa lang. Kailangan ni Pitt matutunan paano dumiskarte pag mahaba ang kalaban at mautak din. Nandoon naman lahat ng tinuro namin ni coach Pat (Gaspi) kaso ganoon talaga. Pero in fairness naman sa bata, malaking improvement niya. Magaling lang talaga ang kalaban. Saka sanay na rin kasi yung kalaban sa international tournaments at qualified na siya sa Youth Olympics.”

Pitt Laurente settles for bronze © Provided by The Philippines Star[Philstar Daily Inc.] Pitt Laurente settles for bronze

Gaspi said exposure to more international competitions will elevate Laurente to the next level. “Maliban sa practice, kailangan ng exposure sa international tournaments para mag-improve ang confidence level,” he said. “Kinulang si Pitt sa aggressiveness at medyo nailang kasi siya sa haba ng kalaban.”

Team manager/nutritionist Jeaneth Aro said Laurente was despondent after the loss. “Nanghihinayang siya kasi alam namin lahat na kaya niyang talunin,” she said. “Napagod na kasi yung Uzbek pero si Pitt hindi halos napagod, may lakas pa. Ang tingin ko, nailang siya sa kalaban given the history na dati na siyang tinalo. The Uzbek was more aggressive at first pero naubos din. Sabi nga nila coach, malaki ang improvement ni Pitt compared sa laban nila before.”

Aro said although the team of four will return home on Sunday with only a bronze to show, the fighters did the country proud by never backing down. “Walang bumitaw up to the end,” she said. “Pinakita ang kanilang lakas sa laro. Lumaban silang lahat para sa bayan.” The other fighters were women’s flyweight Jima Baja, lightflyweight Criz Russu Laurente and flyweight Niño Anduyan. Baja and Russu Laurente lost in the first round of eliminations while Anduyan went out in the second round on a close 3-2 split decision.

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