Petecio, Japanese rival earn place in history

Nelson Beltran - The Philippine Star
Petecio, Japanese rival earn place in history
Silver medalist Philippines' Nesthy Petecio poses on the podium with her medal after the women's feather (54-57kg) boxing final bout during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo on August 3, 2021.
Luis Robayo / Pool / AFP

TOKYO – Even before their gold-medal fight, Nesthy Petecio and Japanese rival Sena Irie had made history, with their names to go down in the books as the first female boxers to deliver an Olympic medal for their respective countries.

It’s a matter of who would bring home the gold.

Alas, after three rounds of boxing that boiled down to a dogfight at the finish, the ultimate prize went to the hometown bet who became the sixth Japanese boxer to medal in the Olympics and third to win gold.

But she’s the first in female boxing.

Adulation and adoration were also thrown at her for becoming the first Yonago native to win an Olympic gold and only the third medalist overall from the tiny Tottori Prefecture.

With Irie’s gold-medal feat, Okinawa was left as the only Japan prefecture that has yet to produce an Olympic gold medalist.

Petecio is also assured of a place in the pantheon of sporting greats back home.

She’s only the sixth Philippine boxer to win an Olympic medal, the third with the silver and the first in women’s boxing.

The comparison ends there.

The Japanese, even only at 21, is now looking ahead to a future that doesn’t include competitive boxing, saying she wants to end her career in a blaze of glory.

At 29, the Filipina, meanwhile, is raring to continue fighting, looking forward to the Vietnam SEA Games, the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China and the next Olympics in Paris in 2024.

“Tuloy ang laban. Malay niyo sa Paris ko makuha ang gold,” said Petecio.

“Yung SEA Games laging nasa isip ko yan; yung Asian Games ‘di mawawala sa akin,” added the newly minted Tokyo Games heroine.

Petecio is a four-time SEAG medalist, with a gold in the 2019 edition at home topping her silver feats in 2011 in Jakarta, 2013 in Naypyidaw and 2015 in Singapore.

She said she’ll enjoy her Olympic silver feat at the moment, but would be ready anytime she’s called back to training.

“Kung ano ang sabihin ng coaches; anytime ready ako bumalik sa training,” she said.

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