FILE – The Philippines’ Nesthy Petecio celebrates after defeating Myanmar’s Oo Nwe Ni to claim the gold medal in the 30th Southeast Asian Games women’s featherweight (57kg) bout. INQUIRER PHOTO/ Sherwin Vardeleon
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines has always enjoyed an illustrious boxing culture with the legendary Manny Pacquiao obviously at the top of the heap.
Names like Gabriel Elorde, Luisito Espinosa, Gerry Peñalosa, Donnie Nietes, and Jerwin Ancajas are just a few homegrown pugilists who have carried the Philippine flag en route to world championship glory.
Even the amateurs are part of that heritage with Onyok Velasco and Eumir Marcial achieving international glory.
The women’s side, however, still lag in recognition despite producing gold medal winners in various competitions but Nesthy Petecio is ready to break that glass ceiling.
Petecio, the 2019 AIBA Women’s World featherweight champion, is preparing to snag a spot in the Tokyo Olympics in a journey to help further build the name of women’s boxing in the Philippines.
“For me, it’s going to be a challenge and every one of us in the national team wants the sport to bloom so that more people will know about women’s boxing,” said Petecio in Filipino.
Petecio, however, won’t do it alone as teammate Irish Magno is already headed to Tokyo after securing her ticket in the flyweight division through the Asia/Oceania qualifiers.
CHALLENGE FOR WOMEN
Magno, Petecio, and the country’s first AIBA women’s World champion Josie Gabuco have collected several accolades for the Philippines but they still feel the still the stigma when it comes to the difference between males and females in the boxing landscape.
“When you say women’s boxing in the Philippines there’s always the doubt because they’ll always think that women can’t do it because this sport is mainly for men,” said Petecio.
“Once we hear that, it’s just challenging us to be better. I’ve proven that in 2019 in the World championships that it’s not just the guys who triumph atop the ring but also the girls. What the men can do, the women can as well.”
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