Nesthy Petecio, a Tokyo Olympics silver medalist, led the Philippines to an impressive four-gold medal sweep in the Boxam Elite Tournament in La Nucia in Alicante, Spain on Saturday night, February 3 (Philippine time).
The 31-year-old Petecio scored a 4-1 split victory over Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Chinese Taipei’s Huang Hsiao-Wen with a split 4-1 victory in their women's 57kg (featherweight) championship bout.
Petecio, in a Messenger call interview with SunStar Davao on Sunday afternoon, February 4, praised her Chinese Taipei rival, a two-time IBA women's world bantamweight champion.
"Pag imong sudlon, hawod kaayo sya mu-counter ug hulog-hulog ug sumbag (When you engage with her, she's really adept at countering and throwing punches)," she said. "Giplanuhan sa coaches nga steady lang ko, dili idayon, gawas dayon, ug mu-counter gyud (The coaches advised me to maintain a steady approach, avoid engaging too long, quickly stepping out, and counter)."
She noted that her opponent's height and reach presented a challenge in the bout, but she's pleased to have successfully navigated through them.
"Taas ug kamot, taga-liog ra ko. Kailangan gyud nako mag-inabtik, dili pwede pahinay- hinay (With her long arms, I was just just up to her neck. I really had to be quick; taking it slow wasn't an option)," Petecio, whose amateur boxing career started in Davao City, added.
She said Huang Hsiao-Wen used to compete in lighter divisions in the past.
In earlier bouts, the Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur native, secured a 4-2 split win over Sthelyne Grosy of France in the quarterfinals. She then booked a ticket to the finals after Ana Marija Milisic of Switzerland was forced to abandon their semifinal encounter in the second round.
Petecio thanked her coaches for their invaluable help and guidance. She also expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the Abap family and teammates, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), Philippine Coast Guard, family, and partner Gen, who she credited as a constant source of inspiration.
She also said, "Sa tanang Pilipino nga gatuo gihapon sa akoa nga kaya nako, salamat. Blessing gyud kaayo mong tanan. Sa Ginoo, dako kaayo akong pasalamat (To all Filipinos who still believe in me, that I can do it, thank you. You are all truly a blessing. To the Lord, I am very grateful)."
Rio 2016 Olympian Rogen Ladon, Aira Villegas, and Hergie Bacyadan also ruled their respective categories.
Ladon pocketed the men’s 51kg gold with a default win over Istvan Szaka of Hungary. He secured earlier victories over Scott Richards of Wales and Ari Bonilla of Mexico.
Villegas, who drew a first-round bye, survived a 3-2 decision win over Kyzaibay Nazym of Kazahkstan to clinch the women’s 50kg title. Her path to the golden feat included unanimous decision wins over Caitlin Fryers of Ireland in the quarterfinals and Kelsey Oakley of England.
In the women's 75kg event, Bacyadan dominated Yerzhan Gulsaya of Kazakhstan via a unanimous decision. She also outclassed Citlalli Ortiz, 4-1, in the semifinals after earning a first-round bye.
Marcus Manalo, the secretary general of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (Abap), commended the team's efforts as they prepare for more challenging endeavors in the future.
On social media, Manolo said, “This is not yet the Olympic Qualifiers but at least we know we're taking good steps in that direction.” MLSA