Bascon, Villegas win opening bouts; Petecio falls

Paul Julyfer Bascon and Aira Villegas made their title campaign felt while Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Nesthy Petecio bowed out early at the start of the 74th Strandja International Boxing Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria Monday, Feb. 20.

Paul Julyfer Bascon wins his opening bout in the 74th Strandja International Boxing Tournament. (Photo from Bascon's Facebook account)

Bascon, a 25-year-old pride of Davao Del Norte, flashed his brilliance in the men’s 60kg lightweight division with a 4-1 triumph over hometown bet Tinko Banabakov, while Villegas dominated Argentina’s Milagros Tatiana Flores, 5-0, to advance to the next round of the women’s 50kg light flyweight class.

Bascon’s victory set him up a second-round duel with Kazakhstan’s Yerassyl Tankay, who won via referee-stopped-contest at the 40-second mark of the third round against Italy’s Daniele Salerno.

Villegas, for her part, earned a quarterfinal berth in the 16-player field and arranged a meeting with France’s Wassila Lkhadiri, who clobbered Ireland’s Carly McNaul, 5-0.

Not so fortunate was Petecio, who absorbed a stinging 4-1 defeat over Poland’s Sandra Kruk in her opening bout in the women’s 57kg featherweight.

“No explanation, no excuses,” Petecio wrote on her social media.

Also being shown the door early were Maricel Dela Torre, who succumbed to another Polish fighter in Sandra Drabik, 5-0, in the women’s 54kg bantamweight, and Cleo Tesara, who yielded to Indian S. Kalaivani, 5-0, in the women’s 48kg minimumweight.

Still seeing action in this weeklong slugfest were Irish Magno, Marvin Tabamo, Carlo Paalam, Junmilardo Ogayre and James Palicte.