TOKYO—Nesthy Petecio yielded to Japan’s Sena Irie via unanimous decision on Tuesday at the Kokujikan Arena to settle for a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Petecio up a strong stance against Irie but fell short of giving the Philippines its second gold medal in the Games.
She tried to match Irie punch-for-punch but the Japanese were the quicker fighter, escaping with the win in the division that was added to the Olympic program for the first time.
Petecio’s silver was the first for Philippine boxing in the Olympics since Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco clinched the same color of a medal at the Atlanta 1996 edition.
It was also the second for the country in these Olympics after Hidilyn Diaz’s gold in women’s -55 kgs of weightlifting last July 24.
“This means a lot to me,” Petecio told a well-attended press conference, the first for the Tokyo Olympics boxing competitions. “I dedicate this fight to my country, my family, and my best friend, who died last February.”
“But most especially, I dedicate this silver medal to my coach, Coach Boy [Nolito Velasco] for his tireless effort to bring me to where I am now,” she said.
Petecio was in tears while praising her tormentor and couldn’t hold her tears back during the medal ceremony.
In the same press conference, Petecio said she won’t give up on her Olympic dream.
“Tuloy pa rin ho,” she said. “Kagaya ni champ Hidy [Diaz], nag-silver siya sa Rio and nag-gold siya dito at 30, kaya tuloy ang laban.”
The fight was marked with a lot of clinching, and that was a discomfort for Petecio.
“Ayaw ko ng ganung laro, hawak ng hawak,” she said.(PR)