Petecio eager to train, spar inside bubble
The excitement for Nesthy Petecio has been gradually picking up as the bubble training set up by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) draws near.
And why not?
For the first time in almost a year, the reigning women’s featherweight world champion will again physically trade punches with her fellow boxers and discuss her conditioning with the national team coaches face to face.
“This bubble training will be a big help for us. It’s really different when the coaches are physically present to monitor our training,’’ Petecio told the Inquirer in Filipino.
“We can spar properly with the other members of the team and won’t encounter any difficulty in following the right training program,’’ the 28-year-old Davao del Sur boxing heroine added.
Counting the Olympic-bound Eumir Marcial, a total of 18 national boxers—12 men and six women—will enter the bubble at Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna province, which is set to open shop on Saturday.
“I’m just waiting for my [plane] ticket from the PSC. I’m mentally prepared [for the Olympic qualifier], but I’m still off when you talk about conditioning and preparation,’’ said Petecio, who has been keeping herself in shape at a boxing gym in her hometown Digos City.
The Southeast Asian Games featherweight gold medalist missed securing a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics during the Asia and Oceania Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament in Amman, Jordan, in March, just a week before the entire country plunged into a series of hard lockdowns due to COVID-19.
The agony of defeat at the hands of Japanese Sena Irie in the quarterfinals of that tournament has made Petecio hungry to redeem herself.
“It’s not easy to fight in the qualifiers, but I have learned a lot since that setback. I was able to identify my weaknesses,’’ Petecio said.
According to Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines secretary general Ed Picson, the national boxing team is planning to set up a training camp in Thailand prior to the World Olympic Qualifying Event, which has been tentatively scheduled either in May or June.
“We are waiting for clearance from Thailand. If we get it, then we will go there. Thailand is strict. As part of their COVID-19 precautions, they require visas even for Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries,’’ Picson said.
Olympic-bound Irish Magno and Petecio will enter the bubble along with fellow women boxers Riza Pasuit, Claudine Veloso, Aira Villegas and Analene Cellon as well as 2016 Rio Olympian Rogen Ladon and seasoned boxers Mario Fernandez, Ian Clark Bautista, Carlo Paalam, Marvin Tabamo, James Palicte and Charly Suarez.
Likewise joining them are John Paul Panuayan, Jere Samuel dela Cruz, Junmilardo Ogayre, Marjon Pianar and coaches Pat Gaspi, Nolito Velasco, Roel Velasco, Elmer Pamisa, Reynaldo Galido, Ronald Chavez, Joegin Ladon, Mitchell Martinez and Don Abnett.
Picson said they have yet to hear from Marcial, who is still in the United States after winning his first professional bout last month.
“We are trying to get in touch with him to let him know he should be with the team and the coaches if he really wants to train for the Olympics,” Picson said.
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