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Petecio polishes off Dutch rival, nears Paris slot

Nesthy Petecio punches her way on the brink of securing a slot in the 2024 Paris Olympics after beating Maudvan der Toorn in the first World Olympic Boxing Qualifying Tournament on Sunday in Italy. | LUIS ROBAYO/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Nesthy Petecio is just a win away from a second straight Olympic stint.

The Filipino outclassed Maud Van der Toorn of the Netherlands in their 57 kilogram quarterfinal bout in the 2024 1st World Olympic Boxing Qualifying in Busto Arsizio, Italy on Monday.

Petecio, 31, won a 5-0 unanimous decision to move to within a victory from getting her slot to the Paris Olympics.

While the other categories require fighters to just make the semifinal round to earn an Olympic berth, that is not the case with Petecio in her weight class.

Only the finalists will advance to Paris and Petecio has to hurdle Esra Yildiz Kahraman in their semis clash to make the Olympic grade

Against the 18-year-old Van der Toorn, Petecio showed her experience especially in the second round as she unleashed a barrage of punches that forced the opponent to the ropes after a sluggish first round.

In the third round, Petecio continued to work the body of Van der Toorn while avoiding her rival’s counters.

Also on the verge of taking an Olympic ticket is Aira Villegas after getting a unanimous decision over Sofie Vinter Rosshaug of Denmark in the quarterfinal

A win over Zlatislava Genedieva Chukanova of Bulgaria in the quarterfinal, which Villegas is facing at press time, will give her an automatic slot for the Summer Games.

Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines secretary general Marcus Manalo, who is in Italy with the rest of the team, has faith that Petecio and Villegas will be able to get the job done.”

“Aira and Nesthy had dominant wins earlier and they will definitely go for the Olympic quota tomorrow,” Manalo said in an online conversation.

Unfortunately, it’s not all smiles for the Philippine boxing team as Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Carlo Paalam had to abandon his match in the against Shukur Ovezov of Turkmenistan in the men’s 57-kg division due to a bad shoulder.

Another Olympian in Rogen Ladon also lost in his match via a 3-2 split decision against Kiaran Macdonald of Great Britain in the Last 16 of the men’s 51-kg division.

“Carlo sustained a shoulder injury from his previous bout when his Mexican foe slammed him to the canvas. We tried to manage the pain for this bout but he still couldn’t throw a punch with this right. To prevent further damage, the coaches decided to stop the fight in the second round,” Manalo said, citing Paalam can compete in May, during the second and final world qualifying event in Bangkok.

Paalam took to social media to express his utter disappointment.

“Unfortunately, I sustained an injury in my last match that hasn’t fully healed. And during the course of the fight, it became apparent that continuing would risk further damage… Rest assured I am focused on recovering fully so I can come back stronger and continue my passion for boxing.”

“Rogen had a strong showing in the bout and the whole tournament. It was great to see him compete at this level again after missing the Asian Games due to a foot injury. We look forward to his continued progress going to Bangkok for the last qualifying tournament.”

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