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Shot at gold: Nesthy Petecio barges into Olympics boxing final

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 12:56 PM July 31, 2021
Philippines' Nesthy Petecio celebrates after winning against Italy's Irma Testa after their women's feather (54-57kg) semi-final boxing match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo on July 31, 2021.

Philippines’ Nesthy Petecio celebrates after winning against Italy’s Irma Testa after their women’s feather (54-57kg) semi-final boxing match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (Photo by Luis ROBAYO / AFP)

MANILA, Philippines–Nesthy Petecio is one win away from delivering the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medal in boxing.

Facing a much taller opponent anew, Petecio cut down Irma Testa to size to march into the gold medal round of the women’s featherweight class at the Tokyo Olympics Saturday at Kokugikan Arena.

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Four judges scored it 29-28 for the Davao native while the other had it 29-28 for Testa.

The 29-year-old Petecio shoots for the gold on Tuesday with a victory pushing the Philippines’ gold medal count to two after Hidilyn Diaz claimed weightlifting gold on Monday.

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“It means a lot to me because it’s my father’s dream, and it’s also my dream. It’s not just for me. It’s for my country and the Filipinos that prayed for me,” said Petecio, who is now assured of a silver medal.

Philippines' Nesthy Petecio (red) and Italy's Irma Testa fight during their women's feather (54-57kg) semi-final boxing match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo on July 31, 2021.

Philippines’ Nesthy Petecio (red) and Italy’s Irma Testa fight during their women’s feather (54-57kg) semi-final boxing match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (Photo by UESLEI MARCELINO / POOL / AFP)

But Petecio, who earned a split decision win, had to dig deep after yielding the first round.

Sensing urgency, a ferocious Petecio fought with reckless abandon in the last two rounds where she managed to land shots after struggling to find the target early.

Testa, a two-time Olympian and European champion, used her six-inch height advantage to her favor until Petecio went on the attack and just let her hands go.

QUARTERFINALS FOR PAALAM

It was a double celebration for the country’s boxers after Carlo Paalam put on a masterclass to barge into the men’s flyweight quarterfinals earlier.

Paalam advanced to the next round following a unanimous decision over three-time Olympian Mohamed Flissi of Algeria.

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He goes for a guaranteed place on the podium against Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan.

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