Barbosa meets tournament favorite in opening taekwondo match

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

TOKYO—Kurt Barbosa needed a massive rally to secure an Olympic slot in a qualifying tournament earlier this year.

He will need the same fighting spirit in his very first fight in Tokyo.

Barbosa, ranked 16th, will face Korea’s top tier Jang Jun in the men’s taekwondo -58kg division at Makuhari Messe Hall A on Friday.

Profile: Taekwondo's Kurt Barbosabos

Profile: Taekwondo’s Kurt Barbosabos

Jang ruled the division in the 2019 world championships and is heavily touted for running away in gold here.

But Barbosa has proven to rise when the odds are against him.

Double digits behind on the final lap in qualifying in Jordan, Barbosa launched a furious last-ditch rally and escaped with a dramatic 50-49 win over the home town of Zaid Al-Halawani.

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