Filipina boxer Nesthy Petecio will probably be looking for revenge when she climbs the ring for the Olympic gold this coming Tuesday at Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.
Petecio will be taking on a familiar face in Japan's Sena Irie, who set their gold medal showdown by virtue of a split-decision win over Great Britain's Karris Artingstall in the semis.
Sena denied Petecio an Olympic qualification when they met in the Asia and Oceania Olympic Boxing Qualifiers.
She lost to Sena in their quarterfinals faceoff.
Fortunately, Petecio secured herself an Olympic berth based on her Olympic Boxing Task Force ranking.
The Davao del Sur native knows how to beat the Japanese pug as she defeated Sena on her way to winning the world featherweight title in the 2019 Amateur International Boxing Association championships.
But before that victory, Sena made her amateur boxing debut in the 2019 ASBC Asian Confederation Boxing Championships by scoring a tight decision against Petecio.
No room for error
Fight analyst Nissi Icasiano believes Petecio will have to dish out her best performance since she is facing Sena in the latter's hometown.
"Ang makakalaban niya represents Japan. Kailangan convincingly manalo si Nesthy Petecio. Ayaw nating maulit 'yung heartbreak na nakita natin noong 1996 kay Onyok Velasco," said Icasiano.
"There's no room for error in this gold medal match."
Icasiano believes that Petecio will be entering the bout full of confidence and motivation.
"Of course, she would want to even the score with Sena Irie... and
[Irma] Testa [of Italy] is the best fight to prepare for someone like Sena. Mentally, pinapasok na sa utak ni Nesthy na 'mas matangkad pa 'yung nakalaban ko,'" he said.
Boxing referee Atty. Danrex Tapdasan agrees.
"If you ask me, si Testa na ang pinakamahirap na makakalaban niya. Kasi si Testa ay European champion, matangkad at mahaba," said Tapdasan.
The boxing analyst added that Petecio's ring IQ has always been her advantage over her opponents.
"I can see her winning the gold... Lalabas dito ang ring IQ niya sa final fight. Marunong kasi siyang magchange ng style. Nesthy has this natural skill and intelligence."
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