Filipina boxer Nesthy Petecio was admittedly surprised to have lost by unanimous decision against her Japanese opponent, Irie Sena, in the finals of the women's featherweight division in the Tokyo Olympics.
Petecio battled back after losing the opening round and tried to blitz Irie in the second and third, but the Japanese fighter landed enough punches and disrupted the Filipina's game plan with her timely clinching.
"Sabi ni Coach Boy (Velasco) na bago ako pumasok, magbitaw talaga ako ng suntok kasi hahawakan niya kaagad. So 'yun ang ginawa ko noong third round. Kung nakita niyo, bumibitaw talaga ako ng suntok, sabay dikit siya kaagad sa akin," Petecio told Play It Right TV after the fight.
"Pinipilit ko siyang itulok, pero wala, nakahawak," she said.
Irie won the match via unanimous decision, 5-0, much to the surprise of Petecio.
"Nagulat lang ako na unanimous," she admitted. "Pagsabing unanimous, sabi ko na, 'Ah, okay.' Alam ko na agad.'"
It marked the third time in four meetings that Petecio had succumbed to the Japanese fighter. She also lost to Irie in the quarterfinals of the Asia-Oceania qualifiers in March 2020, which initially kept her from securing her spot in the Tokyo Olympics.
Petecio eventually qualified via her rankings. She won her first four matches -- including a split decision over the top-seeded Lin Yu-Ting in the round-of-16 -- before absorbing the tough defeat in the gold medal match.
"Pakiramdam ko po, lamang ako," Petecio said when asked if she felt that she won. "Pero siyempre, tanggap ko po. Tanggap ko po pagkatalo ko. Saludo ako sa kanya, respeto ko."
"Kung ano man pong binigay ni Lord, sabi ko nga po, tatanggapin ko po ng buong-buo, so sobrang thankful po ako dito," she added.
Petecio's silver is the Philippines' first Olympic medal in boxing since 1996, when Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco won a medal of the same color in Atlanta.
For Petecio, a former world champion, it's a silver that glitters like gold.
"Sobrang saya po, kasi hindi ko man po nakuha 'yung gold, parang ginto na rin po ito sa akin," she said.
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