Petecio makes quick work of Serbian foe to open Olympic qualifier bid

Joey Villar - Philstar.com
Petecio makes quick work of Serbian foe to open Olympic qualifier bid
Second-placed Philippines' Nesthy Petecio celebrates after the women's feather (54-57kg) boxing final bout against Japan's Sena Irie during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo on August 3, 2021.

MANILA, Philippines – For decades, Philippine boxing has produced Olympians.

And it’s not about to stop now.

Eyeing nothing less than fulfilling her personal vow at another shot at an Olympic gold, Tokyo Games silver medalist Nesthy Petecio reopened her quest with a smashing opening-round win in Sunday’s World Qualification Tournament in Busto Arsizio, Italy.

The 31-year-old former world champion was nothing short of breathtaking in her victory over Serbian Andela Brankovic — a swift, merciless referee-stopped contest win halted at the 1.02-minute mark of the first round.

That sent the Davao del Sur pug to the second round where she will battle Romanian Maria Claudia Nechita, a Tokyo Olympian herself who drew a bye.

Petecio, along with the rest of the Filipino boxers, are eyeing to join teammate, Tokyo bronze winner Eumir Marcial, and pole-vaulter EJ Obiena and gymnasts Carlos Yulo Aleah Finnegan to the Paris Olympics set this July.

To achieve that, Petecio would have to thread the proverbial eye of the needle as only two Olympic slots are staked in her division — women’s 57-kilogram — compared to the other classes where a semifinalist would automatically book Paris seats.

Those divisions include the men’s 51kg section where Rogen Ladon immediately went on a prowl with an equally emphatic 4-1 devouring of Italian Emilio Serra Federico.

Ladon next tackles Moroccan Said Mortaji, who advanced via bye.

It wasn’t all sunshine for the country’s campaign though as Riza Pasuit was shown the door following a stinging 5-0 defeat to Venezuelan Krisandy Rios.

Also eyeing a place in the sun are seven other Filipinos — Mark Ashley Fajardo (men’s 63.5kg), Ronald Chavez (men’s 71kg), John Marvin (men’s 92kg), Aira Villegas (women’s 50kg), Claudine Veloso (women’s 54kg) and Hergie Bacyadan (women’s 75kg).

And this league of extraordinary gentlemen and women is eyeing to extend Philippine boxing’s Olympic tradition and add to its current collection of four silvers and the same number of bronze medals.

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