Nesthy Petecio pushed the Philippines closer to its second gold Olympic medal on Saturday (July 31).
The Filipina boxer cut Irma Testa of Italy down to size in the semifinals to barge into the final round of the 2020 Tokyo Games women's featherweight division at the Kokugikan Arena.
Petecio won via split decision, 4-1. Four judges scored the bout 29-28 in her favor while the other gave it to Testa, 29-28.
The 29-year-old Petecio started the match with her back against the wall as Testa, a two-time Olympian, utilized her 5-foot-8 frame to keep the 5-foot-2 Filipina at bay and sway the judges to her side, 9-10.
Jolted to her senses after losing the opening salvo, Petecio leaned on her speed to close in on her Italian foe before establishing an inside-fighting stance that amplified her raw power and fluid head movement.
Testa had no answer for the Davao del Sur native from that point onward, as Petecio marched towards the final stage where she will take on a Sena Irie of Japan on Tuesday, August 3
Petecio becomes the first Filipina boxer to ever reach the gold medal round of the Summer Games.
She is also set to eclipse or replicate the silver-medal finishes of Anthony Villanueva (1964 Tokyo Games) and Mansueto 'Onyok' Velasco (1992 Los Angeles Games).
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.