Nesthy Petecio battled depression before boxing glory

Beatrice Go
Nesthy Petecio battled depression before boxing glory

World boxing champion Nesthy Petecio overcomes depression and anxiety before punching her way to the top

MANILA, Philippines – Before rising to prominence for bagging a world boxing gold, Nesthy Petecio admits going through a seven-month long depression following multiple heartbreaks. (READ: Nesthy Petecio strikes gold in women’s world boxing)

In 2018, Petecio was a favorite to medal in the Asian Games, but the Filipina featherweight lost a 2-3 controversial majority decision against China’s Yin Jun Hua in a match where the Filipina clearly came out as more aggressive.

So noong hindi po binigay sa akin, bumitaw ako kay Lord. Tampo ako sa kanya, kinwestion ko siya na bakit? Ano nangyari sa lahat ng sakripisyo na ito, lahat ng paghihirap ang gusto mong pagdaanan ko,” Petecio shared in Episode 4 of the Go Hard Girls podcast

(When they didn’t give me the win, I lost faith in the Lord. I was angry with him, I questioned him: ‘Why? What happened to all my sacrifices, all the challenges you made me go through?’) 

This heartbreaking moment came after Malaysia axed the 2017 Southeast Asian Games women’s boxing event. But the pain did not stop there as Petecio’s girlfriend also left her for somebody else. 

Since then, the Davao native had to drag herself to training and couldn’t even bear the sight of her gloves and punching bag.

Petecio was even booted out of the first round of the 2018 women’s world boxing championships in India, which came months after the Asiad. 

Huwag niyong asahan na may performance akong maganda kasi sobrang down po ako talaga noon. ‘Yung utak ko, lutang. Parang ayoko na ng boxing, ‘di ata sa akin itong boxing,” said Petecio. 

(Don’t expect a good performance from me because I was really down that time. My mind was elsewhere, I didn’t want to box, I was thinking that boxing wasn’t for me.)

But Petecio’s turnaround came when she started therapy with boxing team sports psychologist Marcus Manalo, who taught her mindfulness meditation techniques to help her get back into the game. 

Sobrang nakakatulong po talaga sa akin. Pag kinakausap niya ako, ang sarap pakinggan, mahinahon, ipapaalala niya sa iyo bakit naghihirap ka,” said Petecio. 

(It really helped me. When he talks to me, it feels really good, it calms me down. He reminded me why I work hard.) 

Aside from Manalo, Petecio’s siblings who were working in Japan continued to encourage her and remind her why all of them are sacrificing themselves. 

Since then, Petecio cruised her way to a breakthrough gold in the worlds, followed by an elusive SEA Games gold after copping 3 silver medals in her career. (FAST FACTS: Who is boxing world champion Nesthy Petecio?)

Though she failed to secure an outright berth to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the continental qualifier last March, Petecio will have more chances to qualify for the quadrennial meet that has been postponed to 2021.

It’s another challenge that a more positive Petecio looks to overcome. – 

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Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.