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MANILA — Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) mainstays Charly Suarez and Mark Anthony Barriga hammered out contrasting victories over touted opponents in separate venues during the recent inaugural staging of AIBA Professional Boxing Tournament (APB), the latest project of international federation president Dr. Ching-Kuo Woo.

Launched early this year, APB complements AIBA’s long-running amateur program (AOB) and the more recent World Series of Boxing (WSB) and guarantees top-ranked national boxers at least four fights a year.

Eight boxers are entered per division and will go through an elimination process via six rounds, an 8-rounder and a championship bout over 10 rounds.

Suarez knocked down two-time Olympian, ex-European and world champion Domenico Valentino in the fifth round, opening a bloody gash on the forehead of the Italian on the way to a split decision in their 60-kg lightweight fight at the Daulet Stadium in Astana, Kazakhstan.

London Olympian Barriga, meanwhile, put on an exhibition against Argentina’s Leandro Blanc in their 49-kg light flyweight fight in Guangzhou, China, dominating every round and barely getting touched.

Suarez, an Asian Games silver medalist in Incheon, faces Kazakhstan’s Berik Abdrakhmanov next on Nov. 21, hoping to avenge a hometown decision he suffered in the President’s Cup in Astana last July despite flooring the Kazakh with a right hook in the third round.

Barriga is ranged against Ecuador’s Carlo Quipo in his succeeding fight.

“We are elated at the auspicious start of Charly and Mark in the APB,” said ABAP president Ricky Vargas. “Their hard work and sacrifice are paying off. With help from the POC and the PSC, our athletes are reaching greater heights.”

Meantime, five ABAP o`fficials hurdled upgrading examinations in different fields. ABAP’s Dr. Isagani Leal qualified as a certified WSB and AOB ringside physician in Assisi, Italy last September. (Manila Bulletin).