Magno draws higher-seeded foe; Petecio on collision course with world No. 1
TOKYO—Irish Magno will be the lone underdog among Filipino boxers in the first round of their respective schedules in the Tokyo Olympics at Kokugikan Stadium.
Magno faces Christine Ongare of Kenya in the preliminary round of the women’s flyweight (48 to 51 kilograms) division on Sunday, the day after Nesthy Petecio kicks off the Filipino boxers’ campaign against Marcelat Sakobi Matshu in the featherweight (54-57 kg) class.
Ongare is ranked 17th in the world while Magno is No. 25.
“I have a feeling she can take on this girl,” boxing association (Abap) executive director Ed Picson said right after the draw on Thursday.
Petecio will be heavily favored in her first round match but a victory there sets her up with a round-of-16 showdown against Taiwanese world No. 1 Lin Yu-ting.
“The draw could have been better but we prepared for the worst so we’re still optimistic,” Picson said, adding that although Petecio is ranked No. 7 right now, she is still the reigning world champion of her division.
Petecio’s match against her Congolese foe will actually be the first boxing bout of the Olympics.
On Monday, Carlo Paalam takes on 25-year-old Irishman Brendan Irvine in the preliminaries of the men’s flyweight (48-52 kg) division. Paalam is ranked 25th in the world while Irvine, who was born in Belfast, is ranked No. 32.
Eumir Marcial, tagged by the Associated Press as a contender for the gold, was given a bye and will wait for the winner of the men’s middleweight (69-75 kgs) bout between Algeria’s Younes Nemouchi and Ugandan Kavuma David Ssemujju.
Marcial drew the bye because he is ranked No. 3 in the world and will need only two wins to medal here. Four wins will give him the coveted gold.
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