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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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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 — Olympic hopeful Nesthy Petecio spent much of 2020 with her family in their home province of Davao del Sur as the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex was used as one of the government’s quarantine facilities for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite staying at home, Petecio did what she could to keep in shape and now that she’s back with her team to prepare for the Olympic qualifiers she’s aware that leaving her family behind is a sacrifice she must be willing to make.
Petecio and the rest of the Philippine national boxing team are prepping up for the final qualifiers in June and they’re currently holed up in a confined environment at Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba.
“When I left home, I already set my mind up that I will focus on the qualifiers,” said Petecio in Filipino. “My heart and mind were set that I have to make this sacrifice because I’m doing this for my family.”
“It’s not just me, though, even my coaches get emotional when they see their children but once you plan something and you set a goal, you will have to sacrifice. If someone asks me what I have to sacrifice for the Olympics, I’ll say the time that I spend with my family.”
Petecio is seen as one of the Philippines’ best bets for an Olympic spot as she is coming off a golden 2019 that saw her reign atop the featherweight division of the AIBA World Championships in Russia.
She then followed that up with a gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games before a home crowd.
Petecio, however, fell in the quarterfinals of the 2020 Asia and Oceania Boxing Qualification Tournament, losing to Japan’s Irie Sana 3-2 in Amman, Jordan.
Nevertheless, Petecio does not want to pressure herself and would rather approach the final qualifications with a clearer mindset.
“There was a huge change in my mindset because I wholeheartedly accepted the pressure during the tournament in Jordan but now I have a more chill mindset,” said Petecio. “I don’t want the pressure to dictate my flow.”
“I learned that already because before I was already thinking of the pressure too much and that threw me off my game so now I’m more relaxed.”

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