Petecio stakes mettle vs. Vietnamese boxer

Nesthy Petecio brings her silver medal-winning act at the Tokyo Olympics to Vietnam.

BAC NINH, Vietnam—Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Nesthy Petecio is right on track to keeping her lofty stature at the 31st Southeast Asian Games boxing competitions.

But after hurdling Myanmar’s Kay Thwe Nyein via unanimous decision on Wednesday night in the women’s featherweight quarterfinals, Petecio faces not one but three challenges in Friday’s semifinals of her weight class.

First, Petecio, 30, battles Tran Thi Linh, a boxer from host Vietnam who she hasn’t fought before.

Second, decisions in certain subjective sports appeared to have favored athletes from the host nation.

And third, the Vietnamese have an appetite for combat sports and boxing’s one of them—it’s never easy to fight with a rowdy hometown crown.

But Petecio, who has a world championship gold medal in her collection, is ready against all adversities—she won’t be in Tokyo last year if she didn’t have the skill set to fight in extreme unfavorable conditions.

Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines Secretary General Marcus Jarwin Manalo confirmed Petecio hasn’t faced Linh before, but they were together in training camp in Muak Lek, Thailand, ahead of the SEA Games.

“I don’t think they already fought each other in the past, but they were together in Thailand so I think she’s familiar with her,” said Manalo. “But Nesthy has what it takes to retain her SEA Games title.”

Another Tokyo Olympian, Irish Magno, faces Indonesia’s Novita Sinadia in the women’s flyweight semifinals on Friday.

Also on Friday, Ian Clark Bautista fights Cambodian Rangsey Sao in a semifinal bout, while early semifinalist Marjon Piañar, who drew a bye, battles Indonesian Sarohatua Lumbantobing or Cambodia’s Vy Sophors in the welterweight class.

Seeing action in the semifinals that were scheduled late Thursday night were Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Eumir Felix Marcial, former world champion Josie Gabuco, Rogen Ladon, James Palicte and Riza Pasuit.

All but one of the 10-member boxing team are in the semifinals and assured of bronze medals.

Hergie Bacyadan, who won gold in the Thailand Open, won’t be fighting because the organizers scrapped the women’s middleweight class because of lack of entries. Also scrapped for the same reason was the women’s welterweight class.

Saturday will be rest day for boxing with the finals set for Sunday.

The boxers are coached by Don Abnett, Ronald Chavez, Gerson Nietes and Mitchel Martinez.

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