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Petecio gets early test in Asiad debut

HANGZHOU, China – A long-time rival awaits Nesthy Petecio at the other end of the ring Friday when she finally makes her debut in the 19th Asian Games.

The Tokyo Olympic silver medal winner faces top seed Lin Yu Ting of Chinese Taipei in an early clash between the top contenders in the women’s 57 kg class.

The winner in the 3 p.m. match at the Hangzhou gymnasium will book a berth into the quarterfinals.

“Dito na magkaka-alaman,” said national coach Ronald Chavez of the highly-anticipated bout.

Petecio, 32, previously took the measure out of Lin during the Round of 16 of the Tokyo Olympiad, when the Filipina won their tightly-fought match by the skin of her teeth, 3-2, on her way of making the finals, where she eventually lost to gold medalist Sena Irie of Japan.

But the Asiad is an entirely new episode on the rivalry of the two.

Whereas Lin already had a bronze medal tucked under her belt which she won during the 2018 edition of the quadrennial meet in Palembang while still fighting at 51 kg class, the Asiad is the only one lacking in Petecio’s trophy case.

“Lagi lang akong quarterfinals,” she said of the two previous stints she had in 2018 and 2014 (Incheon, South Korea), respectively.

“(Kaya) sobrang challenging ito sa akin.”

Petecio, also a gold medal winner in the 2019 World Championship, will be the last of the nine-man boxing team to see action for the first time heading to the weekend, where the quarterfinals and semifinals are going to be held.

Heavyweight John Marvin was the latest Filipino fighter to advance after scoring a Referee Stopped Contest against Rabin of Nepal late Wednesday night.

He joins Olympic medalists Carlo Paalam and Eumir Felix Marcial in the next round as they try to give Philippine boxing its first Asiad gold since Rey Saludar (flyweight) in the 2010 edition in Guangzhou, China.

Marjon Pianar is fighting 2023 World Championship gold medalist Asadkhuja Muydinkhujaev of Uzbekistan in the Round of 16 of the men’s 71 kg class as of press time for a berth in the quarterfinals.

Somnuek Thananya of Thailand meanwhile, won by walkover against Rizza Pasuit, who was not with the Philippine boxing team here but was listed by Asiad organizers on the meet’s official website.

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