Petecio eyes seat in boxing finals

Nelson Beltran - The Philippine Star
Petecio eyes seat in boxing finals
Nesthy Petecio
STAR / File

TOKYO – One win to a sure silver; two to a gold.

On the brink of matching the highest Philippine achievement in Olympic boxing, Nesthy Petecio is calm, cool and focused, simply promising to give her all in her big day atop the ring today.

She’s the main feature in the first session starting at 11 a.m. (10 a.m. in Manila) at the Kokugigan Arena, clashing with former AIBA world junior champ Irma Testa of Italy in the first women’s featherweight semifinal bout.

The other semis face-off, pitting Great Britain’s Karriss Artingstall and Japan’s Sena Irie, is the main showcase in the evening session starting at 5 p.m.

It’s another twin fight for Team Philippines with Carlo Paalam going up against Algeria’s Mohamed Flissi in the men’s flyweight Round-of-16 clash at 11:48 a.m.

Needless to say, Petecio and Paalam are determined to get going and make up for Irish Magno’s exit Thursday in the women’s flyweight division.

Assured of a bronze, Petecio eyes a fourth win that will guarantee her of matching the silver feats of Anthony Villanueva in 1964 here in Tokyo and Onyok Velasco in 1996 in Atlanta.

But as it is, the Davao City native is already sure of going down in history as the first Philippine female pug to win an Olympic medal.

From hereon, beckoning is a better legacy to offer to the nation.

“We have a game plan for the next fight. The Italian girl is similar to the Taipei girl but she hooks and sways back. So we’re gonna take a counter act move,” said coach Don Abnett, believing Petecio’s first-round match against top seed Lin Yu-ting prepared her for Testa.

As for Paalam, Abnett said the Cagayan de Oro fighter is up against an experienced foe and should get moving similar to their winning game plan in the Round of 32 opposite Irish Brendan Irvine.

And so Paalam is expected to counterpunch as he did against Irvine.

“Carlo was a good counter-puncher when we held the bubble training. He’s dominating in counterpunching on the right, and counter attacking,” said Abnett.


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