Nesthy Petecio settled for silver in the Tokyo Games women’s featherweight final on Tuesday, August 3, at the Kokukigan Arena, but the feat still made her the first Filipina boxer to win an Olympic medal.
Home bet Sena Irie, who initially denied Petecio of an Olympic berth in the Asia and Oceania qualifiers, repeated another win over the Filipina to win by unanimous decision, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27.
Irie relied on her jabbing power to score on Petecio in the opening round, which won the favor of all five judges.
But the pride of Davao del Sur turned it into a very close fight in the second round as she managed to get the nod of four judges.
As the match went down to the wire as both boxers attacked and countered each other in the last round, it was the Japanese who was favored.
It was the third time Petecio fell victim to Irie in four encounters.
But along with Irie, Petecio and the Japanese still became the first medalists in the Olympic Games’ women’s featherweight as the weight category made its debut in Tokyo.
Before Petecio’s silver finish, Onyok Velasco notched Philippine boxing’s highest finish with a silver medal in the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Petecio clinched an Olympic podium finish when she defeated Yeni Arias of Colombia in the quarterfinal via unanimous decision last Wednesday.
She then cruised to the gold-medal bout three days later after overcoming European champion Irma Testa of Italy in a thrilling split decision win in the semifinal.
By advancing to the gold-medal round, Petecio redeemed all the heartbreaks she faced in her career, including a controversial defeat in the 2018 Asian Games. She also initially fell short of clinching an Olympic berth in the continental qualifiers.
In 2019, Petecio was crowned the women’s boxing world champion that ended the country’s seven-year gold medal drought since Josie Gabuco copped the gold in the light flyweight event. She also capped off her stellar year with a 2019 SEA Games gold. – Rappler.com