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Freeman Cebu Sports

Petecio’s silver shines like gold

Emmanuel B. Villaruel - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  A boxing gold in the Olympics remains elusive for the Philippines.

At least for now.

Fighting for all the marbles with history in sight, Nesthy Petecio gave her all-out best but failed in the end, losing by a 5-0 unanimous decision to her Japanese archnemesis Sena Irie in the women’s featherweight finals of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics boxing competition yesterday at the Kokugikan Arena in Japan.

Behind on points after the opening session, the 29-year-old Petecio rallied back with finesse in the second round to send their match even going into the third and final round.

When the dust settled, four judges had identical scores of 29-28 while the other one had it 30-27 all for Irie who, aside from taking home the gold, now enjoys a 3-1 edge over Petecio in their four meetings the last two years.

Still, it was a historic campaign for the Santa Cruz, Davao del Sur native Petecio being the first Filipina boxer to medal in the Olympics.

With her silver finish, Petecio also matched the feat of her countrymen Anthony Villanueva and Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco in the 1964 Tokyo and 1996 Atlanta Olympics, respectively.

The country’s bid for that breakthough boxing gold in the quadrennial games now lies at the hands of flyweight Carlo Paalam and middleweight Eumir Felix Marcial.

Paalam scored an upset of epic proportions after he eliminated reigning Olympic and world champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan via a split technical decision, 4-0, to march into the men’s flyweight semifinals.

“Unang una po sa lahat, nagpapasalamat po ako sa Panginoon sa pagbibigay ng lakas sa akin para maipanalo ko ang laban na ito. Maraming salamat din sa tiwala ng mga coaches ko, sa ABAP at sa PSC. Salamat din po sa mga sumusuporta po sa akin at sa aming lahat na mga atletang Pilipino. Sabi nga po ng Panginoon, ‘Makakaya mo, basta kasama mo ako,” Paalam said.

Paalam was ahead in the scorecards of four judges when the bout was stopped at the 1:16 mark of the second round after the pride of Carmen, Cagayan de Oro suffered a cut on his forehead due to headbutt.

 Paalam is now assured of at least a bronze medal, Phl’s third in boxing after Petecio’s silver and the sure bronze of Marcial.

In all at the Tokyo Games, Team Phl now has four medals spotlighted by Hidilyn Diaz’s history-making gold in weighlifting to break its 89-year-old record of three bronzes during the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.

NESTHY PETECIO
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