TOKYO – As the smoke of the Olympic opening rites cleared, Philippine female boxer Nesthy Petecio was among the first to plunge into action, and she’s on target in an easy disposal of her Round of 32 foe at the Kokugikan Arena here Saturday.
Petecio lived up to expectation as among the country’s brightest medal hopes, overwhelming Congo’s Marcelat Sakobi for a unanimous win that could further perk up Team Philippines following the good start provided by rower Cris Nievarez Friday.
TRACKER: Nesthy Petecio the Tokyo Olympics
The Davao City native drew the nod of all five judges in the clinical triumph cheered on by a pocket crowd including Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino, Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez and former Philippine ace equestrienne Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski, now an IOC official.
But a little later, Team Philippines suffered a first casualty on the exit of taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa in a shattering defeat to a superior rival in 58kg top seed Jang Jun of South Korea.
So dominant was the Korean that he finished off the Filipino via the “Win by 20-Point Gap” in the 1:46 mark of the third round.
Petecio had her own domination over in the boxing hall.
Sakobi, the African champ, was in the fight only in the early goings, using her longer reach as she tried to tag the Pinay.
“Pinag-aralan ko pa, at nagmimintis naman siya. Third round kuhang-kuha ko na siya,” said Petecio as she cut down to size her much taller rival to advance to the Last 16 of the featherweight class.
The next round is a virtual medal match as Petecio clashes with top seed Taiwanese Lin Yu-ting in a fight pitting two former AIBA World Championships winners.
“Di pa kami nagkalaban. Dama ko tinitignan niya ako, pero tinitignan ko rin naman siya. Matagal na kaming nageensayo para sa kanya,” said Petecio of the Taiwanese.
The other Philippine lady fighter, flyweight Irish Magno, climbs the ring at 11:15 a.m. Sunday versus Kenyan Christine Ongare.
Rower Cris Nievarez returns to the Sea Forest Waterway for his second race, eyeing a spot in the A-B semifinals while shooter Jayson Valdez launches his bid in the 10-meter air rifle over at the Asaka Shooting Range.
Team Philippines will be busier on Day 3 of competitions with weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and skateboarder Margie Didal, reigning champs in both the Asian Games and the Southeast Asian Games, now trying to win the global stage.
Meantime, the moment belonged to Petecio with her 5-0 conquest of Sakobi in the very first match for Team Philippines after the opening rites Friday night.
Once she had adjusted to the game of Sakobi, the Pinay southpaw peppered the Congo fighter with swift combinations.
Mongolian judge Mandakhbayar Otgonbayar, Algerian Sidali Mokretari, Australian Maksim Sulejmani and Romania’s Manuela Cobzac all scored in 30-27 for Petecio while American Andrew Mustacchio saw it at 29-28 also for the Pinay.
Sakobi earned one point from the American judge in the first round.
Petecio took the first round at 4-1 and both the second and the last rounds at 5-0.
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