Nesthy Petecio Wins Olympic Silver Medal, Makes History As First Filipina Boxer
After Hidilyn Diaz's historic gold medal win at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Davaoeño boxer, Nesthy Petecio clinched the country's second Olympic medal, winning silver in an aggressive final clash of former foes.
She ends the Philippines' boxing medal drought since Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco's silver medal win at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Japan's Sena Irie won the gold medal which is also historic as it's the country's first-ever Olympic gold for women's boxing. Petecio had defeated the Japanese boxer in the World Championship 2019 but Sena returned the favour and won the Tokyo qualifiers against Petecio last March.
It's silver for #PHI!— Olympics (@Olympics) August 3, 2021
Nesthy Petecio gives the nation their second Olympic medal of #Tokyo2020 after a thrilling victory in the women's #Boxing featherweight category!@olympicphi pic.twitter.com/VUizJPw5Nz
In the awarding ceremony, an emotional Petecio stands strong and proud as she makes history as the first Filipino female boxer to bring home an Olympic medal—in a boxing-crazed nation where the sport remains male-dominated that boasts the likes of eight-division world champion, Manny Pacquiao.
In a previous interview, Petecio said that "A lot of people think that boxing is only for boys. But as women [boxers], we already earned the respect."
More than making history, Petecio said winning the medal is also for her family, "It means a lot to me because it’s my father’s dream, and it’s also my dream. It’s not just for me. It’s for my country and the Filipinos that prayed for me," she said after her semi-finals win.
Petecio also flew the flag for the LGBTQ community, dedicating her win to them. "I am proud to be part of the LGBTQ community. Let's go, fight! This win is also for you", she says after winning the silver medal. "I don't deny [to be part of the LGTBQ community]. Whatever your gender is, as long as you have a dream, keep fighting".
In her semi-final bout against Italy's Irma Testa who won in the first round after using her six-inch height advantage and long reach to her favour, Petecio switched gears and turned aggressive against her much taller opponent in the next two rounds. The tactic worked and Petecio earned her ticket in the final with a win via split decision.
In the quarterfinals, the 29-year-old boxer beat out Colombia's Yeni Marcela Arias Castaneda—who had previously beaten Petecio in 2008—in the featherweight quarterfinal via unanimous decision. She won with a score of 5-0 and had previously triumphed over Marcelat Sakobi Matshu from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Yu Ting Lin of Taiwan.
With fellow boxers Eumir Marcial and Carlo Paalam also assured of an Olympic medal, the Philippines is sure to bring home four medals this year—the first time in history, making the country's Olympic campaign this year the best ever. For Petecio, she already has her eyes locked on the next Games, "We're still chasing the gold medal. It isn't over yet, there's still Paris [2024 Games]".
This article was originally published on July 28, 2021 and was updated on August 3, 2021.