PH’s Petecio a win away from Olympic dream after prevailing over Sri Lankan foe in women’s boxing qualifier

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[FILE] Philippines’ Nesthy Petecio celebrates after defeating Myanmar’s Oo Nwe Ni to claim the gold medal during the 30th South East Asian Games 2019 Women’s Featherweight (57 kg). INQUIRER PHOTO/ Sherwin Vardeleon

MANILA, Philippines—Nesthy Petecio is just a win away from realizing her Olympic dreams after she dominated Sri Lanka’s Krismi Lankapurayalage, 5-0, in the second competition day of the Asian-Oceanian Olympic Qualification Tournament for Boxing in Aman.

The reigning featherweight World champion was on a class of her own thoroughly putting Lankapurayalage in a clinic that some judges even gave Petecio 10-8 scores even if there were no knockdowns or standing eight-counts.

Petecio said that nothing has distracted her from the goal and that every fight counts for her.

“I’m super focused here because this might be my last chance to become an Olympian,” said the 27-year-old Petecio in Filipino.

Her next match is against Japan’s Sena Irie whom she has a 1-1 head-to-head record.

Former Olympian Reynaldo Galido is momentarily in charge of the Philippines’ women’s boxing team in place of Nolito Velasco and he’s confident of Petecio’s abilities against Sena.

Petecio did beat Sena 4-1 in the World Championships.

“Nesthy’s been performing well and the last time they met was a 4-1 win for Nesthy in the World Championships,” said Galido. “They’re the ones who will adjust but we’re ready for them.”

The winner between Petecio and Sena is assured of a slot in the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Riza Pasuit, meanwhile, had a tight win over Japan’s Saya Hamamoto, 3-2, in the women’s lightweight division.

The smaller Pasuit used her defense against Saya and landed several right hooks and snappy combinations when she had the chance.

Ed Picson, secretary-general of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines, was overjoyed with the performance of the Filipino boxers but reminded them that harder fights are coming.

“Naturally we’re happy but as our president Ricky Vargas reminded us over long distance, it gets tougher,” said Picson. “Not only will the opposition be better, but everyone is looking to beat us now.”

“Credit to our coaches, the support of the PSC [Philippine Sports Commission] and MVPSF [MVP Sports Foundation], and the prayers of our people, our boxers were given ample training to prepare for this. We’re still optimistic, but guardedly so,” Picson added.

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