QINHUANGDAO, China – Josie Gabuco played deaf to the lusty and thunderous cheers of the hometown crowd for her opponent Xu Shiqi to finally upend her Finals foe in the AIBA Women’s World Championships at the Olympic Sports Center here.
It took some doing, all 4 rounds, before Gabuco could pull off a squeaker, 10-9 at the end of the bout. The first three rounds went to Xu, 1-2, 3-5 and 7-8.
“It was like fighting thousands of opponents”, acknowledged in the vernacular by the 25 year-old single mother of a 5-year-old boy. “The crowd definitely got to me at first, so I was very cautious and tried to come up with an antidote to my shifty opponent.”
Xu was also wily, tying up the Puerto Princesa boxer several times and then dropping to the canvass as if she was wrestled down. The lady Hungarian referee, however, was wise to the antic and issued a warning against the Chinese boxer in the 3rd round.
Gabuco then started cutting off the exit points of her opponent, allowing her to deliver some damaging straights to the head and uppercuts to the side of her opponent’s body.
The fourth round found the Chinese constantly backtracking but getting cornered and hit, thus convincing 4 of the 5 judges to give the nod to Gabuco. The fifth saw the round even.
Team manager Karina Picson was in tears when the decision was announced.
“No one deserves it more. Josie worked long and hard despite personal tribulations, including the sudden loss of her mother last year after a brief struggle with cancer. She was unlucky in the Asian Championships in Mongolia last March but rebounded with a vengeance here”, said the AIBA international technical official and Asian Women’s Commission member.
ABAP president Ricky Vargas was likewise euphoric:
“We in ABAP are happy for Josie and we salute her. Her triumph is a testament to hard work, dedication, determination and faith. Josie believed and we in turn bhelieved in her. To have had a humble part in the making of the first Filipina World Champion is a privilege. As our chairman Mr. Manny Pangilinan keeps reminding us- we would like to change the lives of our athletes for the better.”
“We in ABAP and all your fellow boxers thank you Josie, for giving us all the motivation to continue with the dream.”
The other members of the team were boxers Alice Kate Aparri and Nesthy Petecio, coaches Elias REcaido Jr. and Mitchel Martinez and ABAP executive director Ed Picson.
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