Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Nesthy Petecio spearheaded the Philippines to an outstanding four-gold medal sweep at the Boxam Elite Tournament on Saturday night, February 3, 2024, in La Nucia, Alicante, Spain.
Petecio, 31, claimed victory in the women’s 57kg (featherweight) championship, securing a hard-fought 4-1 split decision against the formidable Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist from Chinese Taipei, Huang Hsiao-Wen.
Petecio lauded her opponent’s counterattacking skills and strategic prowess. Coached to maintain a steady approach, Petecio executed a game plan that involved quick engagements, timely exits, and effective counterattacks, ultimately overcoming the challenges posed by her opponent’s height and reach.
Petecio’s journey to the gold was marked by earlier victories, including a 4-2 split win over Sthelyne Grosy of France in the quarterfinals and advancement to the finals when Ana Marija Milisic of Switzerland abandoned their semifinal encounter in the second round.
The Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur native expressed gratitude to her coaches for their crucial guidance and support, acknowledging their instrumental role in her success.
In a heartfelt acknowledgment, Petecio extended her thanks to the Abap family, teammates, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), the Philippine Coast Guard, family, and her partner Gen, crediting them as constant sources of inspiration. She expressed deep appreciation for the unwavering belief of the Filipino people, describing it as a blessing and offering profound gratitude to the Lord.
The Philippines’ triumph extended beyond Petecio, with Rio 2016 Olympian Rogen Ladon claiming the men’s 51kg gold with a default win over Istvan Szaka of Hungary.
Ladon secured earlier victories over Scott Richards of Wales and Ari Bonilla of Mexico.
Aira Villegas triumphed in the women’s 50kg category, surviving a 3-2 decision win over Kyzaibay Nazym of Kazakhstan.
Hergie Bacyadan dominated the women’s 75kg event, securing a unanimous decision win against Yerzhan Gulsaya of Kazakhstan.
Marcus Manalo, the secretary general of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP), praised the team’s achievements, recognizing the positive steps taken as they prepare for more challenging endeavors in the future.
While the Boxam Elite Tournament was not the Olympic Qualifiers, Manolo emphasized the significance of their progress, signaling a promising direction for Filipino boxing on the global stage.