Filipino fighters punched their way to seven boxing golds at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games’ very own Thrilla in Manila in front of a raucous home crowd on Monday.
The fifth and final day of the boxing program climaxed with 13 medal bouts at the Philippine International Convention Center Forum in the capital, and the boxing-mad host nation was not disappointed.
Carlo Paalam, Rogen Ladon, Charly Suarez, James Palicte and Eumir Felix Marcial picked up golds in the men’s bouts, while Josie Gabuco and Nesthy Petecio won women’s titles.
Thai fighters took five of the remaining gold medals with Vietnam the only other nation on top of the podium.
The biggest ever SEA Games, which was opened by local boxing icon Manny Pacquiao enters its last day of full competition on Tuesday and the Philippines basketball team will be taking on Thailand in the evening final after both teams won their Monday semifinals.
This edition is the first time eSports is being represented at a multi-sport competition sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, and the first medals have been awarded at the San Juan Arena in the capital.
Malaysia won the first ever gold with a win in the category of mixed Hearthstone — a popular online card game — while Thailand took the mixed title for battle game Arena of Valor.
It was a day to remember for Singaporean Peter Gilchrist, 51, who won his sixth consecutive English billiards gold.
The reigning world champion and current world number one beat familiar foe Nay Thway Oo from Myanmar 3-0 at the Manila Hotel.
The Philippines have stormed ahead in the medals table with 136 golds, but there is a two-way battle between Thailand (84) and Vietnam (79) for second place. Indonesia were in fourth with 69.
Seven of the last 11 home nations have finished top of the medals table at the SEA Games, where the flexible sporting programme is traditionally heavily weighted towards the home team.