After losing at worlds, semis-bound Petecio handles Colombian foe in Tokyo
MANILA, Philippines–Nesthy Petecio knew what her semifinals opponent Arias Castaneda was capable of after falling to the Colombian slugger in the world championships three years ago.
Facing a familiar foe, Petecio had to mix it up to get a different result—which she did— after beating Castaneda by unanimous decision to secure at least a bronze in the women’s featherweight class at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday.
“Natalo niya po ako 2018 sa India. Ang iniba lang po talaga namin, gumalaw po ako ng gumalaw ngayon,” said Petecio after the match at Kokugikan Arena.
(She beat me in 2018 in India. What we did differently this time was I moved a lot.)
“Isa, dalawa alis. ‘Yun po yung ginawa ko ngayon kasi sabi nila coach na huwag akong makipagdikitan talaga sa kanya ng sobra sobra kasi comfort zone po niya yon,” she added. “Alis po talaga ako kahit pagod na. ‘Yun po talaga game plan namin.”
(One, two then go. That’s what I did today because my coaches told me to avoid staying in close quarters with her [Castaneda] too much because that’s her comfort zone. I had to create distance right away even though I was already tired because that was really our game plan.)
Two judges had it, 30-27, while three others scored the bout, 29-28, for Petecio, who connected with crisp and timely counters to frustrate Castaneda.
“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,” said PH boxing team’s Australian coach Don Abnett.
With Petecio’s win, the Philippines will now finish with at least two medals in the Olympics for the first time since Los Angeles 1932 when the country collected three bronzes courtesy of athletics’ Simeon Toribio, bantamweight boxer Jose Villanueva and swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso.
The 29-year-old Davao native, who toppled top-ranked Li Yu-Ting of Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals, advanced to face European champion Irma Testa of Italy on Saturday for a place in the gold medal match.
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