Hit-run tactic pays off in Tokyo

Nelson Beltran - The Philippine Star

TOKYO – Ranged against a former tormentor, female featherweight Nesthy Petecio put up a different fight and succeeded with a vengeful triumph over Colombia’s Yeni Castaneda in their quarterfinal face-off in the XXXII Olympiad yesterday.

Petecio stayed away from a brawl and instead beat Castaneda with a methodical in-and-out attack for a unanimous decision that sent her to a Final Four bout versus Italian Irma Testa.

The 29-year-old Davao City pug dominated Castaneda in their return bout and gained the nod of judges Fernando Servide of Argentina, Mariya Kavaklieva of Bulgaria, Yaroslav Renev of Russia, Zhang Guo of China and Maksim Sulejmani of Australia.

“Tinalo niya ako sa India (2018 World Championships). Ang kinaibahan ngayon, gumalaw ako nang gumalaw. Isa, dalawa, alis, yun ang ginawa ko ngayon,” said Petecio, a steady lead gun for the boxing team now 5-of-5 in the Tokyo meet.

Petecio is 3-of-3, thus, assured of at least a bronze in her first Olympics. She goes for a shot at the gold medal in her fight with Italian Irma Testa Saturday.

“Huwag daw akong makipag-dikitan sa kanya ng sobra-sobra kasi comfort zone niya po ‘yun. Alis po talaga ako kahit pagod na. Alis talaga kasi ‘yun lang po talaga yung main plan namin,” said Petecio of the fight plan prepared by Australian coach Don Abnett.

A big key was the boxing coaching staff deciphering and intercepting rightly the fighting style and moves of the Colombian.

“She was very aggressive so the plan was to counter-punch. She changed her plan today and stood there just waiting for Nesthy,” said Abnett.

“In the second round, they were too close, they were wrestling. We told Nesthy not to turn the fight into a scrap but to pick her punches as she has the talent to do that,” Abnett added. “Nesthy is the better boxer but if you try and scrap with a scrapper, usually good boxers don’t win. You fight to your strengths, not their strengths.”

Petecio boxed well and took the first round at 5-0, the second round at 3-2 and the last round at 4-1.

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