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Petecio assures bronze in Tokyo Olympics

TOKYO – It was Nesthy Petecio’s turn to hog the spotlight as she pounded a unanimous 5-0 decision win over Colombia’s Yeni Marcela Arias Castaneda in the quarterfinals of the 54-57kg boxing competitions Wednesday at the Kokugikan Arena here on Wednesday.

The win assured the Philippines of another medal here, a bronze, to go with the gold of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz as it further solidified the country’s most successful campaign in the Olympics.

It was also the country’s first boxing medal in the games in 25 years since the silver of Onyok Velasco in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and the first multiple-medal campaign in the games in 89 years since the 1932 edition, with the bronze medals of high-jumper Simeon Toribio, boxer Jose Villanueva, and swimmer Teofilo Ydefonso.

“I am so happy for this moment. This is my first Olympics and I have won my first medal. I don’t really know how I feel right now,” said the featherweight Petecio, who has already notched three wins here, needing two more to capture gold.

“This tournament is proving so special to me, I am just so blessed,” added Petecio, who earned scores of 30-27 from two judges and 29-28 from the other three.

Petecio has already eliminated the biggest stumbling block in her quest for glory in these games by defeating tournament top seed and world’s no. 1 in Chinese Taipei’s Li Yun-Ting via a split decision victory on Monday.

But another big one stood on the way Wednesday, a Colombian who has beaten Petecio in the past in the 2018 World Championships in New Delhi, India.

Petecio was cool and calculated with her pinpoint combinations in the first round, prompting Castaneda to be more aggressive in the second. But the 2019 champion of the World Championships in Russia, kept her focused and picked her spots, frustrating the Colombian with nifty counters from start to finish.

“We watched the Colombian the other day and she was very aggressive so the plan was to try and counter-punch, but she changed her plan today and stood there just waiting for Nesthy,” said the Philippine team’s Australian coach Don Abnett.

“In the second round they were too close, they were wrestling. We told Nesthy not to turn the fight into a scrap but to pick her punches as she has the talent to do that,” added Abnett.
Petecio shoots for the gold-medal round on Saturday at 12:39 p.m. (Philippine time) against Italy’s Testa Irma, who whipped Canadian foe Caroline Veyre by the same dominant 5-0 score to enter the semifinals.

On Thursday, Eumir Felix Marcial, predicted by Association Press, to win a gold medal here, debuts against Younes Nemouchi of Algeria in the  69-76kg division at 10:48 a.m. (Philippine time), while Irish Magno, fresh off her 5-0 demolition of Kenyan Christine Ongare, in the 48-51kg, takes on Thailand’s Jutamas Jitpong next at 12:24 p.m. (Philippine time).

Carlo Paalam, after posting a 4-1 win over Ireland’s Brendan Irvine, fights Algeria’s Mohamed Flissi on Saturday at 10:48 a.m. (Philippine time).

(photo courtesy of PSC Com. Charles Maxey FB)

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