Petecio, Villegas close in on medal round
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - October 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Nesthy Petecio put up a strong finish to frustrate feisty Chinese opponent Qiao Jieru and hack out a tough 3-2 decision as she barged into the quarterfinals of the World Women’s Boxing Championships in Ulan Ude, Russia Tuesday.

Meanwhile, another Philippine bet, Aira Villegas overwhelmed Southeast Asian Games rival Silpa Lao Ratu of Indonesia, 5-0, to likewise advance to the quarters.

Coming off an equally tight win over former two-time Olympian and world champion Stanimara Petrova of Bulgaria, whom she nipped via the same scoreline, the 27-year-old Petecio relied on her punching power in the third and final round to secure the victory.

Petecio is eyeing to equal, if not surpass, her silver-medal performance in the annual event in Jeju City, South Korea in 2014.

But the Davao City native must first hurdle Japanese Sena Irie, who dispatched Argentinian seventh seed Leonela Sanchez, 4-1, in the quarters Friday night.

Versus Qiao, the Filipina fighter also needed to buck some of her rival’s dirty ploys, including holding and hugging that enabled the Chinese to get back into the match which Petecio dominated in the early going.

Petecio, however, kept her poise and fought wisely, landing a number of jarring combinations that stopped Qiao’s last-ditch effort to turn the match around.

“Puro hawak (all holding),” said Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines secretary-general Ed Picson. “I didn’t think it was that close, I felt Nesthy delivered the clearer and more solid shots. But we’ll take the win.”

The Filipinas, whose campaign is bankrolled by the Philippine Sports Commission, are using this tournament as part of their buildup for the 30th SEA Games at the PICC Hall in Pasay City this December.

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