Nesthy Petecio and Irie Sena met for the fourth time in two years in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Women’s Featherweight gold medal round.
It was an opportunity for the Filipina to even their personal series as Sena had defeated her in two of their previous three bouts.
Petecio, a gold medalist in the 2019 World Championships and the 2019 Southeast Asian games, aimed at getting the Philippines’ second gold medal in 97 years, following the footsteps of Hidilyn Diaz, who won the gold in weightlifting this year.
The first round started tentative, and included a lot of holding, but Sena had her jab going and threw off Petecio’s timing, and deservedly earned her points lead heading into the second.
Petecio came alive a bit more in the second round, throwing more combinations and trying to use her power, but her flurries weren’t set up as well as she would have wanted. She didn’t finish the round well, though, and that seemed to be enough for four judges to have the fight tied heading into the final round.
The third round was close again as both women started to let their hands go a little bit more, but Petecio looked like she was fading heading into the final minute of the round. Sena seemed to do just enough to eke out the win.
The two fighters showed a great respect for each other as they hugged after the bell rang before the result.
The fight ended with a unanimous decision for the Japanese fighter, and one would be hard-pressed to say it was a robbery. Both fighters had their moments in the close fight and Sena’s work in the first round helped her reach that decision.
While Petecio will certainly be disappointed with coming close to our second Olympic gold, she can hold her head up. She’s still coming home with the silver medal, and can be an inspiration to our next generation of boxers.