TOKYO – Her drive boosted by Hidilyn Diaz’s weightlifting gold medal conquest, Nesthy Petecio tries to assure the Philippines of a silver medal when she takes on Italy’s Testa Irma at 12:39 p.m. Saturday (Philippine time) in the 54-57kg boxing competition of the Summer Olympic Games at the Kokugikan Arena here.
Already assured of bronze here, Petecio tries to go deeper into the tournament when she fights the taller Irma, a copycat of tournament top-seed Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yu-Ting, who has already been eliminated by the Filipina featherweight.
“We have a game plan for the next fight. The Italian girl weighed 60kgs. She’s similar to the Taipei girl but she hooks and sways back. So we’re gonna take a counteract move, but I’m comfortable with Nesthy’s performance,” said the Philippine Olympic Team’s boxing coach Don Abnett of Australia.
On Wednesday, Petecio barged into the semifinals with an emphatic 5-0 victory over former tormentor, Colombia’s Yeni Marcela Arias Castaneda, the same dominant win matched by the Italian after whipping her Canadian foe Caroline Veyre.
Only two wins separate Petecio from the Philippines’ first boxing gold ever, but don’t tell that to the veteran 30-year-old champion of the 2019 AIBA World Championship in Russia.
“Isa-isang laro lang po muna, baka madapa tayo,” cautioned Petecio, who nevertheless is pumped up by Diaz’s golden conquest five days earlier.
“Sobrang na-inspire po ako kay Hidilyn. Hinintay ko po talaga na matapos ‘yung laban niya. Sobrang saya po namin, sobrang proud kami kay Hidilyn. Jump high po,” said Petecio.
Meanwhile, Carlo Paalam is expected to use the same game-plan of his 4-1 win over Ireland’s Brendan Irvine when he fights Algeria’s Mohamed Flissi earlier at 10:48 a.m. (Philippine time).
“Carlo’s opponent is a very experienced boy. He’s boxing in the WSB (World Series of Boxing),” said Abnett of Flissi. “But Carlo’s gonna get moving, similar to the game plan that he did in his last fight, he probably just continue with that. If it’s working, then we won’t change it.”
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