Tokyo Olympics

ABAP chief questions Petecio-Irie decision: ‘How can it be unanimous?’

Delfin Dioquino
ABAP chief questions Petecio-Irie decision: ‘How can it be unanimous?’

FILIPINA POWER. Despite her finals loss, Neshty Petecio secures her place in Philippine sports history as the first Filipina Olympic boxing medalist.

Carl Recine/Reuters

Nesthy Petecio falls short of becoming the Philippines' first Olympic boxing gold medalist following a unanimous decision loss to Sena Irie of Japan

Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) president Ricky Vargas questioned the judges’ decision in the Tokyo Olympics women’s boxing featherweight finals that saw Nesthy Petecio fall short of the gold medal.

Vargas felt Petecio made a strong case for the grand prize, noting it did not merit the unanimous decision verdict that paved the way for hometown bet Sena Irie of Japan to clinch the top podium spot.

All five judges scored the tightly contested bout in favor of Irie, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28.

“The governance has improved a lot. What I cannot accept is the decision was unanimous. How can it be unanimous?” Vargas said in a mix of Filipino and English during the Olympic broadcast of TV5.

Petecio put herself in a position to win the gold when she won the second round, with four judges scoring it 19-19 and one judge having it 20-18 for Irie going into the final round.

Irie nailed the third round, and ultimately the gold medal, with identical 10-9 scores from all five judges.

Still, Vargas said it is what it is as he praised the improved staging of the boxing tournament after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stripped AIBA, the governing body of amateur boxing, of the right to run the sport in Tokyo.

AIBA had its IOC recognition suspended two years ago following questionable judging in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

“We’ll leave it at that. I’m sure after the games they will do an evaluation of how the games were governed,” Vargas said.

“Generally, the governance is way, way better than the previous governance when AIBA was doing it.”

In Vargas’ eyes, Petecio is a gold medalist.

“Nesthy did all she can and that was all we ask of her. I messaged her this morning, ‘Just do your best.’ Your best will actually give you the pride that you represented the country,” Vargas said.

“If you can look in the mirror that you did your best, then that to me is okay. She got her silver. She is our gold medalist. I look at it at that end.”

The country still has two shots at capturing an Olympic boxing gold, with Eumir Marcial (men’s middleweight) and Carlo Paalam (men’s flyweight) reaching the semifinals of their respective divisions. –

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.