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Barbosa faces tournament favorite in opening taekwondo match

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Philippine Taekwondo team led by jin Kurt Barbosa at the Tokyo Olympics. 📷 carlospadillav through PTA Facebook

TOKYO – Kurt Barbosa needed a big rally to book an Olympic spot in a qualifying tournament earlier this year.

You will need the same fighting spirit in your first fight in Tokyo.

Barbosa, ranked 16, faces top seed Jang Jun of Korea in the men’s -58kg taekwondo division at Makuhari Messe Hall A on Friday.

PROFILES: Kurt Barbosa from Taekwondo

PROFILES: Kurt Barbosa from Taekwondo

Jang ruled the division at the world championships in 2019 and is highly touted to run for gold here.

But Barbosa has been shown to increase when the odds are against him.

Barbosa, who fell behind by double digits in the final round during the qualifying rounds in Jordan, launched a furious last-minute rally and escaped with a dramatic 50-49 victory over local bettor Zaid Al-Halawani.

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