HE was a little slow in focusing and lose concentration in the opening 30 seconds. And national boxer Mohd Fuad Redzuan (pic) was dethroned as the SEA Games light-flyweight champion.
The 28-year-old Fuad lost to home opponent Carlo Paalam through an unanimous decision in the the semi-final at the Philippines International Convention Centre Forum yesterday.
Fuad could only blame himself for failing to dodge a heavy blow and the referee immediately stopped the action and started a standing count.
Paalam, last year’s Indonesian Asian Games bronze medallist, took full advantage to dominate the first round as the stunned Fuad tried to get himself back into the bout.
Backed with the thunderous cheer from the home fans, Paalam proved too strong for Fuad although the Malaysian did eventually settle and battled back strongly especially in the third and final round.
While admitting he could have done better with his defence to prevent the standing count, Fuad believes the referee had “deliberately” done it to favour the home boxer.
“That blow didn’t justify a standing count, ” Fuad lamented.
“It hit me just a little, it was not a solid one. When the referee carried out the standing count, I knew it was going to cost me dearly. It would give the judges a wrong impression and influence their decision.
“I thought I recovered well. By the third round, I had managed to get the better of him, but it was already too late. If only I had one extra round, I I could have won, ” added the two-time Arafura Games champion.
“I want to say sorry to all Malaysians that I could not defend and bring back the gold.”
But Fuad is taking nothing away from Paalam, the 21-year-old former World Youth Championships bronze medallist, who he defeated in the first round in Kuala Lumpur two years ago.
“He’s improved tremendously since I fought him as a rookie. That’s what so impressive about Philippines’ boxers, the association send them out to plenty of competitions and they grow with each experience, ” he said.
Fuad, who also won bronze at the 2013 Myanmar Games, said he would move up to the flyweight category from next year.
“I have fought as light-flyweight fighter for 10 years with the national team. It’s time for a change, ” said Fuad.
“When you have done all sort of changes and you remain stagnant, it’s better to try something different.
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