Familiar hometown bet stands in Nesthy Petecio’s quest for Tokyo gold
Nesthy Petecio and Sena Irie have had some battles in the past ahead of their latest showdown for the women’s featherweight gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
In fact, their upcoming bout on Tuesday will be their fourth meeting in just two years.
Irie is 2-1 against Petecio after she beat the Filipino by split decision at the Asia and Oceania Olympic Boxing Qualifiers in Jordan in March 2020 and in the 2019 ASBC Asian Confederation Boxing Championships in Thailand.
Petecio’s lone win against Sena was a 4-1 decision in the quarterfinals of the 2019 AIBA World Championships in Russia where the Davao del Sur heroine won the gold medal.
It’s been a grueling road for Petecio, who defied tremendous odds on her way to the final round.
The 29-year-old Petecio had to hurdle top-ranked Lin Yu-Ting of Chinese Taipei in a close decision and survive European champion Irma Testa of Italy in the semifinal where she trailed after the first round.
Showing all heart, the 5-foot-2 Petecio gave up at least six inches in height against the two.
But while that won’t be the case against the 20-year-old Irie, who stands at 5-foot-3, the Japanese up-and-comer will be fighting in her hometown while also having Petecio’s number.
Betting against Petecio, however, could just be another big mistake as her inspiring run in Tokyo has shown.
“I’m so happy to make the gold medal round because this is not just for me. This is also for our country, my best buddy Alexcel Dergantes who passed away, for my family, my coaches and the Filipinos who prayed for me,” she said after her dramatic victory over Testa on Saturday.
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