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World Boxing champ eyes SEAG victory

BAGUIO CITY – Newly-crowned Amateur Asian Boxing Association (AIBA) World Women Boxing champion Nesthy Petecio is eyeing a return to the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games with a bang on December even as she prepares for the Olympics qualifier in February next year.

Kailangang makabawi (We need to recover),” said Petecio on Friday at the University of Baguio (UB) athletics office prior to her courtesy call to University president Javier Bautista and at her department, the School of International Tourism and Hotel Management.

Petecio, a native of Davao City, is a first-year college student.

The tourism student won the gold in the AIBA world championship last October 13 in Ulan Ude, Russia when she beat Russian and hometown pride Liudmila Vorontsove in three of the five judges' cards.

The 27-year-old ended the country’s seven-year drought in the world championship with teammate Josie Gabuco last winning it in the light flyweight division against China’s Shiqu Xi.

Now, Petecio is eyeing gold in the SEAG on December 2 to 7 hoping to erase the stigma of the 2015 edition in Singapore where she lost against a Vietnamese foe in the finals.

“I really want to get back and win the gold this time in the SEAG,” said Petecio, who missed the 2017 SEAG.

After that, it will be the Olympics qualifier somewhere in China where she hopes to land a seat in the 2020 Olympics in Japan.

Petecio is actually seeded in the qualifier but needs to get at least a bronze medal to qualify.

To accomplish both, she needs to fly with the Philippine boxing team to Gold Coast, Queensland in Australia to train for at least three weeks.

“She needs to fly there so she can train with female boxers her size. We do not have many boxers of her size here,” national team assistant coach Rey Galido said.

Petecio is first flying to her hometown of Davao for a flag-raising event with Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte on Monday and will return to Baguio on October 26 to get her stuff for the Australia trip.

But she is also expected to grace the unity run for the SEAG with possibly Hidilyn Diaz and fellow boxer Eumir Marcial.

“Though I am not really sure if they will be there since they have a busy schedule, with the SEAG fast approaching,” she said.

Fellow gold medalist Carlo Yulo, who grabbed the limelight a day before Petecio when he won gold in gymnastics, has already flown to Japan to continue his training.

Another Olympics qualifier EJ Obiena is also out of the country for training, “so I am not really sure if they can make it,” she added.

But for now, Petecio is contented with her windfall, a total of PHP3 million and counting.

She received PHP1 million from the Philippine Sports Commission upon her arrival, a PHP1 million from President Rodrigo Duterte and another PHP1 million from the MVP Foundation. She is expected also to get a similar amount from Senator Manny Pacquiao.

Baguio is also set to give her an amount for winning in an international competition.

May pampagawa na ng bahay namin, siguro matatapos na namin (I have now the means to have our house finished),” said Petecio, who as a small child saw her family evicted from their house in Davao City and has to move back to her father’s hometown in Davao del Sur.

“I can also finish a regular degree here in UB after finishing my associate arts studies,” she added. (PNA)

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