June 25, 2024

Nesthy Petecio names toughest opponents in women's 57kg division come Paris 2024

Nesthy Petecio names toughest opponents in women
Nesthy Petecio holds up the silver medal she bagged in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. | Photo (c) Reuters

Filipina boxer Nesthy Petecio is gearing up for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 with a renewed sense of determination and a clear understanding of the challenges ahead.

After her impressive performance in Tokyo 2020, where she secured a historic silver medal, Petecio is aware that the Paris competition will be even more intense.

With the draw of the Olympic boxing matches set in the coming weeks, Petecio acknowledged the formidable opponents she expects to face in the women's 57kg division.

"Actually, lahat ng naglaro nung Tokyo, nandun lahat eh [sa Paris]. Si Senna [Irie] lang 'yung wala, 'yung Japan kasi nga nag-retire na siya," Petecio said during a forum of the Philippine Sportswriters Association.

Irie prevented Petecio from grabbing the gold medal as she fell short against her Japanese foe.

But with Irie already retired from competition, Petecio is now focusing on three powerhouse countries: Kazakhstan, Italy, and Taipei. These are Kazakhstan’s Karina Ibragimova, Italy’s Irma Testa, and Taipei’s Lin Yu-Ting. 

Petecio had faced Testa back in the semifinals of Tokyo 2020, while Yu-Ting has been a familiar foe for the Filipina boxer, having faced each other in the round of 16 in the 2023 SEA Games.

However, the Tokyo 2020 silver medalist is also careful not to underestimate other competitors, acknowledging that she has not faced some of them yet and could pose significant challenges.

“Ang laging nasa isip ko, tatlong bansa lang talaga: Kazakhstan, Italy, and Tapei. Sila lang 'yung nasa isip ko pero hindi ko ina-understimate 'yung ibang bansa kasi hindi ko pa sila nakakalaro, hindi ko pa sila nakikita talaga or naka-sparring,” said Petecio.

“Hindi din naman sila ganun kahihina, nasasaktuhan lang talaga na natatapat kami sa malalakas talaga kaya hindi ko sila naabutan,” she explained.

In her build-up for the Olympics, Petecio has been diligent in her preparations, sparring with various opponents to refine her strategy. She recounted her sparring experiences in Thailand, noting the importance of not revealing too much of her game plan.

“Hindi ko rin totally nilalabas 'yung totoong laro sa sparring kasi siyempre may kanya-kanyang video kami eh. Kahit nakikita namin, kahit ako nakikita ko 'yung style nila, pag-dating sa taas ng ring, iiba 'yan eh,” said Petecio.

“Hindi ako nagba-base sa makukuha siya kaagad sa sparring. Okay lang sa akin 'yung makuha ko 'yung style niya, kung ano 'yung mostly na ginagalaw niya kaya sabi ko kena coach na enough na 'yung isang beses ko maka-sparring ko,” she added.

[ALSO READ: Nesthy Petecio bares struggles before securing Paris 2024 slot: "Grabe kapit ko kay Lord"]

Despite the rigorous preparation, Petecio is not taking anything for granted, recognizing that the road to success in Paris will be difficult.

"Alam kong hindi ganun kadali 'yung pagdadaanan ko ngayon sa Paris, especially na iba siya kesa sa Tokyo," Petecio admitted. “Sa Tokyo, walang exposure halos, walang laro, walang training.”

“Ngayon kasi, open na so hindi ito basta-basta na gaya ng iniisip ng iba na medalist na kaming tatlo or wala si Senna sa Japan, ako na 'yung mag-gold. Hindi ganun kadali 'yun,” she added.

[ALSO READ: Boxer Nesthy Petecio wants to improve one particular aspect of her game for Paris 2024]

As she looks ahead to Paris, Petecio remains both excited and pressured, ready for whatever may happen come the Olympic boxing draw.

"Kung ano mangyari sa draw ko, kung magiging same ba nung Tokyo na si [Lin] Yu-Ting agad 'yung nakalaban ko sa pangalawang laban, so paghahandaan ko talaga ito," said Petecio.

“Nakaka-excite, 'yun 'yung nararamdaman ko ngayon na may halong pressure pero mas lamang 'yung excitement kasi alam ko nandito lahat nung mga malalakas sa timbang na ito,” she added.