Medal hopes rest with Kaew

Thai star confident he can succeed

LONDON Light-flyweight Kaew Pongprayoon is one victory away from winning a medal after securing a 10-6 win over Carlos Quipo Pilataxi of Ecuador in the second round on Saturday.

The 32-year-old, who is the only Thai boxer remaining in the tournament, struggled in the first round when he took a narrow 2-1 lead in the 49kg division.

He shifted into a higher gear to extend his lead to 5-3 after two rounds and went on to win the fight.

''I am surprised that I got only two points in the first round,'' said the Kamphaeng Phet native.

''Then I tried combinations of punches and it worked.''

The Olympic debutant said he was satisfied with his improved performance and fitness after not competing for several months.

In the quarter-finals on Wednesday, Kaew will face Aleksandar Aleksandrov of Bulgaria who upset second seed Jonghun Shin of South Korea 15-14.

With a winner in the quarter-finals assured of at least a bronze, Kaew said he was confident that he would get a podium finish.

But he knows that he is under pressure as he is the only Thai boxer left in the tournament.

''I will do everything to win a medal for my country and my mother,'' he said.

He said he was surprised that Aleksandrov defeated Shin but he was ready to face anyone.

Thailand coach Thong Taweekhun said his boxer was capable of capturing a medal _ which would be the country's only boxing highlight at the London tournament.

However, Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit, president of the Thailand Boxing Association, said that Kaew must improve if he is to win a medal.

Boonlert has vowed to quit as the country's amateur boxing chief if his team fail to return home with a gold.

LIGHT-FLYWEIGHT (49KG) RESULTS

Zou Shimming (CHN) bt Yosbany Veitia Soto (CUB) pts 14-11

Birzhan Zhakypov (KAZ) bt Mark Barriga (PHI) pts 17-16

Paddy Barnes (IRL) bt Thomas Essomba (CMR) pts 15-10

Devendro Singh Laishram (IND) bt Serdamba Purevdorj (MGL) pts 16-11

David Ayrapetyan (RUS) bt Jantony Ortiz Marcano (PUR) pts 15-13

Ferhat Pehlivan (TUR) bt Ramy Elawady (EGY) pts 20-6

Kaew Pongprayoon (THA) bt Carlos Quipo Pilataxi (ECU) pts 10-6

Aleksandar Aleksandrov (BUL) bt Jonghun Shin (KOR) pts 15-14

About the author

columnist
Writer: Kittipong Thongsombat
Position: Reporter