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Petecio advances to semis, assured of bronze in Olympics boxing

FOUR HORSEWOMAN. University of Baguio’s formidable female boxers include Nesthy Petecio (2nd left), Aira Villegas (3rd, right), Irish Magno (2nd, right) and Josie Gabuco, who contributed two golds, a silver and a bronze in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games and seen here with UB president Javier Herminio Bautista, 3rd, left, and coach Boy Catolicio, left. This was taken at the president’s office in October 2019 after Petecio won the Amateur International Boxing Association feather title which Gabuco won some years back. Petecio advanced to the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics featherweight division after unanimously deciding Columbian Yeni Marcela Arias Castaneda in the quarterfinals today, July 28. Magno is slated to fight in the flyweight round of 16 tomorrow. Pigeon Lobien / RNG Luzon

After Hidilyn Diaz golden performance, the country is assured of another medal thanks to a gritty University of Baguio student from Davao who made it to the semifinals with a dominant quarterfinals performance at the Kokukigan Stadium Wednesday.

Nesthy Petecio stormed to the semifinals by blasting Columbian Yeni Marcela Arias Castaneda, 5-0, that puts her within two wins for a gold in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics women’s feather division.

The 2019 Amateur International Boxing Association champion opened the match by winning in all the judges’ card, 10-9. But she narrowly took the second round by winning three of the judges before a 4-1 nod in the final. The final scores were 30-27 from two judges and a narrow 29-28 from three of the judges.

The Petecio camp came to the fight after the shock win against world number one Lin Yu-Ting in the round of 16, a 3-2 split decision.

Petecio opened her campaign with a 5-0 beating of Congolese Marcelat Sakob Matshu in the opener as the hotel and restaurant student vowed that she wants to win a gold in her Olympic debut.

“I want to win the gold medal for my country, but I know that I will have to work hard for it,” Petecio said after beating the world’s best feather fighter.

On the other hand, the Columbian advance to the quarters by beating Bulgarian Stanimira Petrova, 3-2.

Italian Irma Testa also advanced to the women’s featherweight with a 5-0 win over Canadian Caroline Veyre.

Petecio and Testa will square off in the semifinals on Saturday at 1:39 PM.

The 23-year old Testa finished fifth in the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympics. She was the losing finalist in the 2014 Youth Olympic Games held in Nanjing, China, the European champion in 2019. She qualified for the Olympics after ruling the 2021 European Qualifying Event in Paris last June 8.

Two other featherweight matches are scheduled today including Petecio’s top rival, local Sena Irie who faces Maria Claudia Nechita and the Kariss Artingstall (Great Britian) – Skye Nicolson (Australia) match

Fellow UB student Irish Magno, who celebrated her birthday Tuesday, returns to the ring in a round of 16 match against Thai Jutamas at 12:24 PM. She opened with a win over Kenyan Christine Ongare last Monday.

Her match follows the Olympic debut of Eumir Marcial in the men’s middleweight division at 10:48. Marcial, one of the country’s medal hopefuls, will face Younes Algeria.

On Saturday, UB Senior High School alum Carlo Paalam goes up against Algerian Mohammed Flisi at 10:48 in men’s flyweight. The 21 year old opened with a 4-1 win over two time Olympian Brendan Irvine of Ireland.

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