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Reporting from Tokyo
TOKYO — Eight days after weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz ended the Philippines' 97-year wait for an Olympic gold medal, boxer Nesthy Petecio came close to adding a second gold for the nation on Tuesday (3 August)
The 29-year-old lost to Japan's Sena Irie via unanimous decision in the women's featherweight (54-57kg) Olympic to clinch the silver medal at the Kokugikan Arena.
Irie relied on her jabbing power to score from range on Petecio in the opening round, which won the favour of all five judges. However, the Filipina from Davao del Sur turned it into a very close fight in the second round, getting the nod of four judges.
In the final round, both boxers went on the attack, but it was the Japanese who prevailed.
This is the third time Petecio had lost to 20-year-old Irie in four encounters in the past two years. While Irie became the first female boxer to win gold for Japan, Petecio also became the first Filipina to win a boxing medal for her country.
"I dedicate this medal to my country, and also to my best friend who passed away in February," said Petecio, who choked up when referring to the death of national teammate Alexcel Dargantes at the age of 24.
"I also dedicate my medal to my coaching staff, that's why I'm emotional right now."
Beating five opponents en route to final
Petecio had to defeat five opponents en route to the final: the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Marcelat Sakobi Matshu, Taiwan's Lin Yu-ting, Colombia's Yeni Marcela Arias Castaneda, and Italy's Irma Testa.
In an earlier bout on Tuesday, Carlo Paalam assured the Philippines of another boxing medal after he defeated Uzbekistan's Shakhobidin Zhoirov on points in the men's flyweight quarter-finals.
There are no bronze-medal bouts in the Olympic boxing competition, with both semi-final losers automatically received bronzes.
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