Tokyo—A year ago, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yu-Ting would have beaten Nesthy Petecio handily.
But not her 2021 version. The one with power in both hands.
In a scintillating show of ambidexterity, Petecio confused Lin with her varying fighting stance en route to a well-earned 3-2 split decision victory that may have eliminated the Filipina boxer’s biggest stumbling block to the gold medal in the 54-57kg boxing competitions of the Summer Olympic Games at the Kokugikan Arena here on Monday.
“Kaya ko po gamitin ang dalawang kamay ko. Kung saan po nakakatama ako, doon ko po inuulit. Kapag nabantayan na po niya, ililipat ko na po ako sa kabila,” said Petecio, needing one more win to assure herself of a bronze medal, or three more for the gold.
The ambidextrous Petecio was in full display in the first round, where the champion of the 2019 World Championships in Ulan-Ude, Russia, peppered the Taiwanese with power blows from both hands.
Lin, the topseed here and ranked no. 1 in the world, used her 4-inch height advantage and longer reach to the hilt with nifty counters, to erase all the points that Petecio built in the first.
Petecio regained the upperhand in the third, where she managed to score crucial points that allowed her to spend the last few moments staying out of trouble.
“It was about not over-committing, but getting into her punching range and using fast feet and to get her opponent to lead off and then counter with one or two punch combinations,” said Team Philippines’ boxing coach Don Abnett from Australia.
“The girl (LIN) was waiting for her to over commit with the punches, she is notorious for that, trying to make her opponent miss,” added Abnett of the Taiwanese, who broke down in front of TV cameras at the Mixed Zone. “She never comes into your punching range, she uses her range really well, so Nesthy played a cat-and-mouse game. It was really good and it paid off.”
Petecio shoots for the bronze medal on Wednesday at 10 a.m. (Philippine time) against Colombia’s Yeni Marcela Arias Castaneda, whose biggest claim to fame is her bronze-medal feat in the 2019 Pan American Games.
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