Shock upset guarantees Jordan’s Obada Al Kasbeh a boxing medal at Asian Games

Obada Al Kasbeh defeated gold medal favourite, and Olympic silver medallist, Han Soon-chul to reach the semi-finals in the 60-kilogram weight class in boxing.

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Lightweight boxer Obada Al Kasbeh was carried shoulder-high from the ring Monday crying tears of joy after upsetting South Korea’s Olympic silver medallist Han Soon-chul in the Asian Games quarter-finals.

Al Kasbeh swarmed all over the experienced Korean, 10 years his senior, from the first bell with a barrage of blows to guarantee the 20-year-old Jordanian at least a bronze medal in the 60-kilogram class.

He amazingly kept up the furious assault for the whole three rounds, flailing in punches from all directions, forcing the gold medal favourite to retreat and try to box on the counter.

Han did land two great body shots in the second which led to him edging that round on all three judges’ scorecards as Al Kasbeh missed more than he landed. But it was never going to be enough after a third-round slugging match where Al Kasbeh kept raining in blows.

The Jordanian could not hold back the tears as he was carried from the hall on the shoulders after the unanimous decision was announced. He punched the air amid jubilant screams of “Mubarak!” and chants of “Obada! Obada!” from the Jordanian delegation who were hugging and kissing the victor.

“I’m delighted with the bronze but it is only a step on my road to the gold medal for Jordan,” an emotional Al Kasbeh told AFP.

“Arab nations don’t win many medals in boxing so I want to share my joy with the people in Jordan.”

Han, who was beaten in the London 2012 Olympic final by legendary Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko (396 amateur wins, one defeat) admitted he could not cope with Al Kasbeh’s furious energy levels.

“I am exhausted,” he told AFP. “And I hurt my left hand, but that is not any excuse. I lost fair and square.”

Al Kasbeh may not find it so easy to dominate against the classy Charly Suarez of the Philippines in Thursday’s semi-final.

“I would like to give the glory to God who gave me strength and power to achieve this victory,” Suarez said after putting in an accomplished display of boxing to see off Iraq’s Ammar Jabbar Hasan.

The other lightweight semi-final will be between Otgondalai Dorjnyambuu of Mongolia and Satoshi Shimizu of Japan who both won unanimous decisions.

Shimizu had too much power and precision for China’s Wang Lei and Dorjnyambuu knocked down Kyrgyzstan’s Akhol Sulaimanbek in the first round. The easy win delighted a sizeable Mongolian contingent in the Seonhak Gymnasium.

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