Filipino Olympian profile: For boxer Petecio, Tokyo stint completes boxing career

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 21 2021 04:19 PM | Updated as of Jul 22 2021 06:47 AM

Filipino Olympian profile: For boxer Petecio, Tokyo stint completes boxing career 1
Petecio — here competing at the 2019 SEA Games — once wanted to give up boxing, but she stayed and fought on. The prize for being steadfast? An Olympic dream fulfilled. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/file

For Nesthy Petecio, competing in the coming Tokyo Olympics is about fulfilling her father's dream.

Petecio said her father Teodoro, who served as her first coach, used to box but wasn't able to reach the Olympic level.

"Para sa papa ko ito, naglaro siya dati pero hindi natuloy sa Olympics," said the pride of Davao del Sur in

"So sabi ko ako magtutuloy para pamilya ko, sa bayan saka sa sarili ko."

Petecio joined the list of Filipinos set to compete in Tokyo after making the cut based on the Olympic qualifying ratings. 

Together with fellow national team member Carlo Paalam, she moved up to No. 1 in their respective weight classes after the boxers ranked above them have already qualified for Tokyo. 

Petecio said she took up boxing at a young age when her father taught her the rudiments of the sport at the age of 11. Back then, it was only meant for self-defense, she said.

But she turned out to be a natural in the sport that she was recruited to become part of the ABAP-Calinan boxing team. When she won gold at the 2007 Smart National Youth and Women's Open Boxing Championships in Cagayan de Oro, it was clear she was destined for greater things.

Petecio won silver in the Southeast Asian Games three times, before finally copping the gold in 2019. 

She also bagged a bronze medal in the 2012 Asian Amateur Boxing Championships in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and a silver in the 2014 AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships in Jeju City, South Korea. 

Her biggest victory came in 2019 when she defeated Liudmila Vorontsove in the AIBA Women’s Boxing World Championships, at the latter's turf in Ulan-Ude, Russia.

Before scoring the breakthrough in Russia, Petecio acknowledged there was a time she nearly quit the sport. 

"Noong matalo ako sa Asian Games, gusto ko nang huminto. Gusto ko nang maghanap ng trabaho, yung ibang options na available sa akin that time," she said.

But boxing has been her life. It has become her tool to lift her family out of poverty, she said.

"Naangat ako sa hirap. Hindi lang ako. Ang daming natulungan noong mag-boxing ako kaya sobrang importante nito sa akin," she said.

For Petecio, making it to the Olympics is the culmination of a lifelong dream.

"Ito 'yung pinaka-highest na pangarap ng lahat ng mga atleta," she said in a separate interview on "Power and Play".

"Kumbaga, para sa akin, kahit ano po 'yung mga nag-gold man ako sa SEA Games, sa kung anong international po, kumbaga 'pag hindi ako nakapasok sa Olympics, hindi ako nakalaro sa Olympics, kumbaga useless lahat po 'yun eh.

"Kumbaga, ito 'yung pinaka-peak namin. So kumbaga, kung hindi ako makalaro dito, wala. Para sa akin po, kumbaga, hindi buo 'yung pagiging atleta ko hangga't hindi ako nakakalaro sa Olympics po." 

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