Philippine Olympic Boxing is now saddened of Light Flyweight prospect Mark Anthony Barriga's defeat against Kazakhstan's Birzhan Zhakypov. Barriga, who had defeated Manuel Cappai of Italy on the score of 17-7, made the entire country dream with his quest for the elusive Olympic Gold Medal. I for one, although envious, had my hopes up with his ride for Olympic greatness. I wanted him to win the Gold Medal, but as it turned out, Lady luck seemed to go against the Filipino prospect. Barriga from the Philippines lost with a score of 16-17 in favor of Zhakypov from Kazakhstan. It was a controversial decision that sparked some interest and fascination between Olympic Boxing fan's like myself.
Earlier rounds seemed to favor Barriga with his consistency and willingness to throw punches on his opponent. Actively, I would say Barriga was more aggressive, as Zhakypov was more reserved yet accurate. It was a close round. The judges had it 5-4 in favor of the more accurate Birzhan Zhakypov of Kazakhstan.
Again, Barriga was the more aggressive fighter. He threw lots of punches that worked into his favor as the the Kazakhstan fighter seemed to stay idle and relaxed throughout this round. Barriga outlanded his opponent by 8-10, his aggressiveness, hand speed, and counter punching skills carried out in this round.
A determined Birzhan Zhakypov turned his pedal to the metal. He was more aggressive than the Filipino contingent for the very first time. Barriga looked to counter punch his opponent as Zhakypov was coming in. Both fighters seemed to wrestle each other in deep anticipation, sensing the urgency that their Olympic dreams may come to an end tonight. There were moments where both fighters kept falling down, as they were coming in. Referee Roland Labbe of Canada then decided to give a two point advantage penalty on Barriga for wrestling. The score ended in a steady 17-16 in favor of Birzhan Zhakypov of Kazakhstan.
The decision is definitely unfortunate for the Filipino contingent. He should have won this match if the referee never gave the deduction with a score of 16-15. Again, I don't criticize the rules and favoritism thereof of the Olympic community, but this is just outrageous! I cannot stand to watch a fighter being blamed entirely over something which is not entirely his fault. It reminded me of the Hopkins - Dawson debacle. This is the same instance wherein the decision of the referee irrationally ended the fight. It was never a pleasant thing to watch.
Why don't you just let the fighters win it the way fighters must win it, not by some reckless decisions, created by certain officials, to enforce a point system that irrationally ends the fight like this? For the most part, the better fighter was Barriga despite his deterioration in the final round, in my opinion. I'm not becoming a sourpuss just because I am Filipino. I am not biased. I am just like a lot of sports enthusiast out there who does not want to see people staining the fight game like this.. The same fight game that combat sports athletes like myself cherish and get an inspiration from.
A word of advice to referee's who work in combat sports.. Please, never ever deduct a point from fighters. Think of it before you do it, and if you do it, please let it be for illegal blows. If you recognize a fault, be sure that the reason for it is entirely one's fault. I know that this sport in itself is sometimes imperfect, but let us try and get things right. When a fighter steps inside the ring, he has only one opponent in mind, not the referee, judges, or the crowd. It also only depends if other than his opponent, he creates another in himself.
Picture: Filipino Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga delivers a straight right hand over Italian Olympian Manuel Cappai in the London 2012 Olympics.