Boxer Nesthy Petecio overcame a taller rival in Italy’s Irma Testa to advance to the women’s feather (54-58kg) gold-medal match in the Tokyo Olympics Saturday.
Petecio won via split decision, 4-1, after four judges gave the Davao native 29-28 and the remaining one judge 28-29.
The victory arranged Petecio a championship match with the winner between Great Britain’s Karriss Artingstall and Japan’s Sena Irie.
It also moved her closer to becoming the second Filipino gold medalist in Tokyo after weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz.
Her feat also makes her the first Filipino boxer to vie for the Olympic gold medal since Onyok Velasco at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Velasco eventually settled for the silver medal in that bout against a Bulgarian rival.
Petecio said she just listened to her coaches’ change of game plan after Plan A did not work in the first round.
“Sinunod ko po yung plano ni coach na di muna pumasok sa kanya. Pero di nag-click kasi ang haba ng reach nya. Nagulat din po ako sa haba ng reach nya,” she said.
“So nung second round sabi ni coach, di na kami pwedeng mag-stick sa ganung plano, kailangan naming pumasok nang pumasok.”
Petecio said she wasn’t bothered when Testa won the opening round.
“Kasi alam kong mas malakas ako sa kanya,” she said.