Lightweight Nesthy Petecio did not let her huge height disadvantage get in the way of her goal.
Petecio, at five-foot-three, defied the odds as she fashioned out a convincing victory over five-foot-11 Alexis Pritchard of New Zealand to earn the PLDT-ABAP Philippine team’s lone gold medal in the China Boxing Open in Guiyang, China.
The 21-year-old Petecio had said she’s familiar with fighting opponents taller than her and true enough, Petecio proved it with a win via unanimous decision as she unleashed a flurry of hooks, straights and uppercuts the moment she negated Pritchard’s length by narrowing their gap. Pritchard wisely tried to make full use of her reach by fighting on the outside but to no avail as Petecio found ways to keep coming in.
The Philippines though, failed to go three-for-three as other bets Josie Gabuco and Junel Cantancio settled for silver in their respective championship matches.
Gabuco failed to get into any rhythm with China’s Xu Shiqi, whom she was able to beat last year in the world championships, used her craftiness to get back at the Filipino with a 3-0 decision. The 26-year-old Palawan native wasn’t able to follow up her stellar win over Olympic silver medalist and three-time world champion Ren Cancan in the semifinals.
Cantancio likewise, yielded in the Finals after absorbing a 3-0 setback to the power-punching Viacheslav Supinov of Russia.
Rounding out the country’s 1-2-1 medal haul was Mark Anthony Barriga, who was a big letdown after just a bronze-medal finish last Thursday.
The hosts finished atop the medal tally with seven gold medals followed by Kazakhstan and Russia with two while Mongolia and the Philippines, which was also represented by boxers Roldan Boncales (flyweight), Nico Magliquian (bantamweight) and Dennis Galvan (light welterweight), had one apiece. New Zealand bagged two silvers while India ended up with one silver.
Although it would’ve been so much sweeter had the Philippines won more gold medals, ABAP president Ricky Vargas couldn’t be more proud with the boxers’ achievements in a tough tournament such as the China Open.
ABAP executive director Ed Picson headed the PH delegation along with Karina Picson, the women’s AIBA international technical official, as team manager and coaches Pat Gaspi, Roel Velasco and Elias Recaido Jr.