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NATIONAL boxer Fuad Redzuan arrived at the Philippines Sea Games fearing biased judging would derail his bid to defend the gold in the under-49kg category.

Instead, it was ‘unfair refereeing’ which abruptly ended his title defence yesterday.

Fuad said he was not unhappy with the judges, who had unanimously scored 5-0 in favour of Filipino Carlo Paalam.

Instead, he was irked by the way the referee handled their semi-final bout at the Philippines International Convention Centre in Manila.

The Malaysian claimed that although Carlo came out aggressively and threw a barrage of punches at Fuad in the opening seconds of the fight, but ‘none did any serious damage’.

Yet, Fuad was given a standing count.

‘My focus was completely thrown off in the first round because the referee gave me a standing count in the very first few opening seconds of the fight,’ said Fuad, who received a quarter-final bye.

‘Normally, you (a referee) only give a standing count if there is a clear shot. In this case, I was defending well and his shots only lightly hit me.

‘It took me the whole of the second round to get my rhythm back. I was almost back on my game in the third, but it was too late by then.

‘Unfortunately, this is how it is in boxing. If it’s not the judges, it’s the referee (who are biased) when we compete against fighters from the host nation.’

The 28-year-old Fuad, who will still go home with a bronze, had also fought Carlo at the same stage at the 2017 KL Games.

Yesterday’s fight was Fuad’s last one in the under-49kg division as he will now move up to the under-52kg category.

‘I’ve spent 10 years representing Malaysia at the under-49kg class and I feel that I have reached a plateau,’ said Fuad.

‘Moving up to under-52kg will also allow me to fight for a spot at the Olympics as the under-49kg class is not included.’

Meanwhile, in the men’s under-75kg semi-finals yesterday, Aswan Che Azmi lost to Filipino Feliz Marcial Eumir via referee stoppage.

Khir Akyazlan Azmi will take on Thailand’s Anavat Thongkrathok in the men’s under-81kg semi-finals tomorrow.

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