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Filipino-Brit John Marvin wins SEA Games gold in 21 seconds

Fighters Network

MANILA, Philippines – Both the Philippines and Thailand won two gold medals while Malaysia received its first boxing gold in eight years at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games on Thursday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Light welterweight Wuttichai Masuk and bantamweight Chatchai Butdee, both 2016 Olympians from Thailand, won decisions over Sarohatua Lumban Tobing of Indonesia and Mario Fernandez of the Philippines, respectively. Masuk, the 2014 Asian Games gold medalist, won his third straight title, and defeated another two-time SEA Games gold medalist and Rio Olympian in Charly Suarez in the semifinals on his way to the gold.

Butdee, who fell short of the podium in 2015 when he lost to Filipino Ian Clark Bautista, was a step quicker than the reigning two-time bantamweight gold medalist Fernandez, who lost a point in the third on a dubious call by referee Bazarbaev Dulat of Kazakhstan, who deducted a point from the Filipino despite his head being pulled down by Butdee.

The Philippines was redeemed later in the day by middleweight Eumir Marcial, who registered a standing eight count against Thailand’s Pathomsak Kuttiya in the third round despite an injured left knuckle.

“I told myself…that this is my last fight. There’s no more tomorrow so whatever goes. Even if they have to change out my hand tomorrow, I need to win now,” Marcial told

The 21-year-old Marcial of Zamboanga City, Philippines was a welterweight gold medalist at the 2015 Games in Singapore, and had qualified to compete at the AIBA World Championships in Hamburg, Germany this month but opted to pass to represent his country in the biennial regional competition, which sees 11 member nations compete in an Olympic-style meet.

John Marvin clocks Adli Hafidz with a big left hook. Photo / PSC-POC Media

John Marvin, a Filipino-British boxer from the Isle of Wight in Southern England, delivered the first light heavyweight gold for the Philippines in 26 years as he blitzed Malaysia’s Adli Hafidz Mohd Pauzi for two standing 8 counts in 21 seconds.

Marvin, a 24-year-old Lance Corporal in the British Army representing the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment, had torn through the competition, defeating Cuban-born Cambodian Felix Merlin Martinez in the quarterfinals and 2013 gold medalist Anavat Thongkrathok in the semis, dropping both numerous times in the decision wins.

Marvin, whose mother is Filipina, told that he wanted to avoid a situation where the fight was “left in the host country’s hands to decide my fate” after numerous scoring and officiating controversies, including the dubious decision his teammate, light flyweight Carlo Paalam, suffered against Muhamad Fuad Redzuan, whose 5-0 quarterfinal decision was widely panned afterwards as a hometown verdict.

“It is a revenge for my colleague who lost in an unfair manner,” Marvin told reporters.

Redzuan, after the Paalam debacle, leapt past Laos’ Lasavongsy Bounpone in the semifinals to meet Thailand’s Thani Narinram in the gold medal match. Redzuan raised his arms to taunt his opponent in the first round, and promptly was knocked down by a straight left hand, which caused his left knee to touch the canvas. Referee Dulat did not administer a count, just as he did not when a similar incident occurred in the Paalam fight, which he also officiated.

Redzuan outpunched the Thai the rest of the way to win a decision.

The flyweight final between Aldoms Suguro of Indonesia and Tanes Ongjunta of Thailand featured Ongjunta controlling the fight from mid-range with his superior jab, and only being vulnerable when he lunged forward with his hands in front of his feet. Despite seeming to edge the fight, the decision was awarded to the Indonesian, leaving Thailand with just two wins despite having five of their six boxers in the gold medal round.

SEA Games boxing was condensed from eleven weight classes in 2015 to just six by the Malaysia organizers, who opted to eliminate the women’s categories completely despite women’s boxing being an Olympic sport.

The 2019 SEA Games are slated to take place in the Philippines, which hasn’t hosted it since 2005.