May 29, 2024

As Paris 2024 looms, Olympic silver medalist Nesthy Petecio reveals she almost quit boxing

As Paris 2024 looms, Olympic silver medalist Nesthy Petecio reveals she almost quit boxing
Nesthy Petecio gets another shot of an Olympic gold in Paris come July-August | Photo: Paolo Del Rosario

2020 Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Nesthy Petecio has a little over three months of preparation before she takes another crack at Olympic gold in the 2024 version of the Summer Games in Paris later this year.


With the countdown to Paris 2024 officially on, the Filipina boxer got honest as she recalled her painful experiences in the past, revealing that she almost quit the sports after failing to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and then coming up empty-handed at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. 


“Actually after Asian Games 2018, sobrang depressed and dumating ako sa point na ayaw ko makakita ng ring, ayaw ko makakita ng gloves, or ayaw kong mag-training," Petecio bared on "Starting Lineup."

 

"Yes po totoo [muntik ako mag-quit]," she added.


However, some boxing officials convinced the then 26-year-old fighter to continue and just wait for the right moment. 

 

 “Sobrang thankful ako sa mga taong nagtiwala sa akin and never nag-doubt sa akin. Si sir Ed Picson, Ricky Vargas, si coach Nolito Velasco. Sila 'yung mga taong hindi ako binitawan talaga. Sabi ni coach Nolito, naalala ko na, 'hindi man binigay sa atin itong Asian Games, may the best na nag-aantay para sa atin,'" Nesthy recalled.


To rest and recalibrate, Petecio asked for some time off from boxing, choosing to focus on her education. 

 

 “That time sabi ko na, kasi ayaw kong mag-training, so sabi ko, coach baka pwedeng mag-aral na muna ako sa University of Baguio. Kumbaga sabi ni coach sa akin na, 'sige i-enjoy mo 'yung sarili mo sa ibang bagay muna, kalimutan mo muna itong boxing, pero andito kami willing kaming mag-antay kung gusto mo nang bumalik nang buo,'" she said.

 

"So ayun po, kumbaga ilipat ko 'yung attention ko sa iba. Nakapag-aral ako, sobrang thankful ako kahit papaano nakapagtapos po ako, malaking tulong din po 'yun sa akin," Petecio added.

 

Once the itch for boxing started to come back, the former 2014 World Boxing Championships silver medalist just couldn't resist. It was time to head into the ring again.

 

 “After noon, ako na mismo ang nakaramdam na, uy parang gusto ko na [mag-boxing ulit], hinahanap na ng katawan ko," Petecio said.

 

"Sa support din po ng pamilya ko, importante rin po 'yun. Lagi kong iniisip na, pinapasok ko sa sarili ko na, kung hindi man binigay ni Lord sa akin itong bagay na 'to na gustung-gusto ko, alam kong hinahanda ako ni Lord sa mas the best na gusto niyang ibigay sa akin," she added.

 

 Once she returned, Nesthy went on to have an unforgettable year in 2019, starting off with a gold medal win in the Thailand Open International Boxing Championship. She followed that up with a gold in the  Women's World Boxing Championships, before ending the year with a gold medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines.


Two years later, the right moment came for Petecio in Tokyo, winning a silver medal in the women's featherweight category.


 

 

The Paris return that almost never happened

She got her Paris ticket now, but Petecio shared that she almost did not compete in the all-important semifinal fight against Turkey's Esra Kahraman Yildiz for an Olympic slot due to a series of injuries.

“Yung last na laban ko sa Turkey po, actually po talaga medyo nagduda din po talaga ako kasi matagal na yung injury ko sa wrist, nagte-take lang ako ng ng pain reliever," she said of her bout from the 1st World Qualification Tournament in Italy back in March.

"Yung sa mata yung scratch ko po talaga, bumalik. So hindi po talaga ako makadilat. Hirap na hirap po ako nung gabi. Nakuha ko po siya sa laban ko before [ng laban ko po kontra] Turkey. Buong gabi po, nakapikit lang po ako and drop lang ng drop. Kinabukasan, may medical check up po kami. So sabi ko talaga, ‘Lord, iopen mo muna [po] ito. Baka po kase yung mangyari kapag hindi siya mag open talaga, ma walkover po ako.”

Seemingly by Divine Intervention, Petecio was able to pass the medical clearances, with her eyes also doing better hours before the fight.

“Lord. kapag hindi ko po nadilat ito ng 3 or 4 p.m., baka hindi na ko naglaro. Pinapaubaya ko na po sa Inyo ang lahat," Petecio recalled.

"Ang lakas ko kay Lord that time. Mga around 11 po, na-open ko po talaga siya. Nawala yung scratch, gasgas sa mata ko. Napaiyak po talaga ako. Naging normal po talaga siya hanggang sa pagdating ko sa laban nawala talaga siya."

Nesthy was then able to secure one of the two spots available in the featherweight (57-kg) division, beating Yildiz via split decision, 4-1.

With a challenging road behind her, Petecio has another shot at history. Will she bring the elusive boxing gold from Paris?

ALSO READ: Paris-bound! Boxers Nesthy Petecio, Aira Villegas book 2024 Olympic tickets