Will the country find itself third time lucky and finally win a gold medal in boxing?
Already assured of at least P15 million and a house and lot, Nesthy Petecio goes for the biggest prize of all and a place in boxing history when she faces Sena Irie for the women’s featherweight gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics at 12:05 p.m. on Aug. 3.
Petecio is just the third Filipino to make the final—after Anthony Villanueva in 1964 and Onyok Velasco in 1996. Villanueva lost to Stanislav Stepashkin of Russia in what Joe Cantada called a robbery. In 1996, it was the same story as Velasco lost to Daniel Petrov, 19-6, with broadcaster Ron delos Reyes crying daylight robbery.
Petecio is hoping to overturn that trend in the final and going in her favor is that AIBA–the international boxing association–is not running the tournament since the IOC suspended it due to issues on finance, governance, refereeing and judging in May 2019. A special committee headed by Morinari Watanabe, the president of the International Gymnastics Federation, is running the boxing event.
The two finalists have faced off three times with the Japanese owning the edge, 2-1. Irie, making her debut, beat Petecio by split decision on April 19, 2019 in the ASBC Elite Boxing Championships before the Pinay got even with a majority decision win on Oct. 10, 2019. On March 9, 2020 Irie scored another majority decision win over Petecio in just her fifth fight as an amateur.
“This means a lot to me, it’s my dream and this is my father’s dream. A victory will not only be for me but for my family, and to Filipinos who pray for me,” she said.
Already assured of P15 million–P5 million from the Incentives Act and P5M each from Ramon Ang and the MVP Sports Foundation–Petecio will gun for the country’s first gold medal in boxing after becoming just the third person in history to make the finals after Anthony Villanueva in 1974 and Onyok Velasco in 1996.
“I’ll go for the gold with everything I’ve got and I know that if I follow my coaches, I won’t go wrong,” she said.
A gold medal will earn the boxer from Davao a hefty windfall. Already assured of a house and lot by Ovialand worth P2.5 million, she will get an additional P33 million cash windfall, while the Century Properties Group vowed to offer a house and lot worth P4 million, the same gift it gave Hidilyn Diaz.
I’ll go for the gold with everything I’ve got.Nesthey Petecio
Before Petecio, Carlo Paalam will take on reigning Olympic and world champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan in the men’s flyweight quarterfinal. A win will earn him his first bronze medal and the country’s fourth overall.