Boxing: Laishram thrills at London Olympics
LONDON (Reuters) - Boxing's smallest men took to the ring on Tuesday, bringing tears, the quickest knockout of the Games so far and the first sight of a thrilling Filipino who has trained with the great Manny Pacquiao.
The men's light-flyweights weigh no more than 49 kilogrammes and usually stand at just 162 centimetres (5 feet, four inches) but they can pack a punch as India's Devendro Singh Laishram proved in front of another packed house.
The 20-year-old from Manipur, who racked up the biggest score at last year's world amateur championships by notching up 40 points in three rounds, knocked Bayron Molina Figueroa down within a minute before forcing the Honduran into two standing counts. The referee eventually stopped the bout after two-and-a-half minutes.
"He wasn't a good boxer, I knew that, I'd sized him up. The coming rounds are going to get more difficult," the Indian, decked in luminous yellow boots, told reporters after his quick workout.
At 157 centimetres, Mark Barriga of the Philippines may be barely taller than the top rope in London's boxing arena but he made a big impression on Tuesday, showing off some lightning quick footwork and a rasping left hook.
Ahead of the games, Barriga trained with the Philippines greatest sportsman Manny Pacquiao, the much decorated fighter who won professional world titles in eight different weight classes.
The 19-year-old, who has since been given the nickname 'Little Pacquiao', had far too much for fellow teenager Manuel Cappai, streaking to an easy 17-7 win and scoring almost half his points in a final round where he toyed with the Italian.
One light-flyweight who won't be joining the pair in Saturday's last 16 is France's Jeremy Beccu who could not hold back the tears as he spoke to reporters after losing 18 points to 17 to Birzhan Zhakypov of Kazakhstan.
"It's really unfair, I should have won. Nobody can convince me otherwise," said the 21-year-old from the northern town Auchel, who led by one point going into the final round.
"I don't really understand it, the first round especially was given 6-6 and I clearly won it. I knew I had to fight against the judges also alas."
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin. Editing by Patrick Johnston)
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