Thai boxer eliminates French world champion

23rd August 2004, Comments 0 comments

ATHENS, Aug 22 (AFP) - Inspired by his mother and his King, Thai boxer Manus Boonjumnong upset world champion and gold medal favourite Willy Blain in the quarter-finals of the Olympic light welterweight division on Sunday.

ATHENS, Aug 22 (AFP) - Inspired by his mother and his King, Thai boxer Manus Boonjumnong upset world champion and gold medal favourite Willy Blain in the quarter-finals of the Olympic light welterweight division on Sunday.

Manus dominated the bout from start to finish, outsmarting the Frenchman by forcing him on to the front foot, then launching blistering counter-attacks.

Manus, who at 24 and 1.76 metres (5ft 9in) is two years younger and three centimetres taller than Blain, won the fight 20-8 on points.

"The King rang me this morning, which made me feel stronger in the contest," Manus told reporters afterwards.

Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who ascended to the throne in 1946 at the age of 18, is the world's longest serving monarch and the most revered figure in the south-east Asian country.

Manus is guaranteed at least a bronze by progressing to the semi-finals and he dedicated the medal to his mother, Malee. "It is her birthday today," he said with a smile.

In contrast, French team coach Dominique Mato said Blain, who was the gold medal favourite after defeating Russian triple European champion Alexander Maletin in the previous round, was "very stressed" in Sunday's fight.

"Boonjumnong gave him many tactical problems, which Blain could not find a solution to," Mato said.

The rangy Thai boxer got off to a great start, winning the first round 5-1 and shading Blain 5-4 in the second round.

Realising he was well behind on points, Blain went on the attack in the third and got punished on the counter-punch, losing the round 2-8. Manus jogged to his corner at the end of the third round with his right glove above his head in triumph, and he ensured the final round was a messy affair with lots of holding so Blain could not launch a sustained comeback.

Manus' coach, Juan Buatista Fontanilis Queseda, said Blain fought a bad tactical fight.

"We know that when he (Blain) fights back he is very good, but my boy is taller. We planned to make the French boxer change his tactics by coming forward. He did and it was a tactical mistake," Fontanilis Queseda said.

Manus will fight take on Romanian Ionut Gheorghe, who beat Michele di Roco 29-18 on Saturday, in the semi-finals on Friday.

Gheorghe talked up his chances against the Thai following his quarter-final win.

"I did not come here to take the bronze medal. I want the gold and I think I can take it. I will fight Manus in the semi-finals, and I am sure that I will beat him," the 20-year-old said.

The other semi-final will be between Cuba's Yudel Johnson Cedeno, who beat Uzbekistan's Dilshod Mahmudov 32-28 on Saturday, and Boris Georgiev from Bulgaria, a 20-18 victor over Kazakhstan's Nurzhan Karimzhanov.

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article