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Nesthy Petecio vs Sena Irie Gold Medal Fight: Best Asian Finish in Olympic Women's Boxing


PhilBoxing.com





Other than the gold medal, more are at stake in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics women's boxing featherweight division finals between the Philippines' Nesthy Petecio and the host's Sena Irie tomorrow, August 3 at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo, Japan.

The two will be figuring in Asia's best finish yet since women's boxing was included as a regular Olympic event nine years ago in London with medals at stake in just three weight divisions. The honor and bragging right of who between them and what country would win the region's first gold medal in the event is therefore at stake.

Petecio will be gunning to be not only the Philippines and Asia's first Olympic women's boxing champion and bagging the country's first gold medal in boxing after a pair of silver and four bronze medal finishes since the pre-war. She is also bidding to be only the country's second Olympic champion after Hidilyn Diaz notched the first gold medal in women's weightlifting.

Irie on the other hand, apart from gunning for winning Japan's and Asia's first gold medal in women's boxing, hopes to duplicate the feat of compatriot Takeo Sakurai who won Japan's first boxing gold in the 1964 Olympics also held in Tokyo at the then newly opened Korakuen Boxing Hall. Irie gears to win Japan's only third gold in boxing after Ryota Murata won the men's middleweight final in London in 2012.

This will also be only the fourth all-Asian finals in all of Olympic boxing in memory after Sakurai beat South Korea's Chung Chin Cho for the bantamweight gold in 1964 Tokyo and China's Zou Shi Ming defeated Purevdorjin Serena of Mongolia and Kaeo Pongprayon of Thailand in the light flyweight finals of the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics, respectively.

Women's boxing debuted in the 2012 London Olympics with just three weight divisions, flyweight, lightweight and middleweight with the host's Nicola Adam, Ireland 's Katie Taylor and the USA's Claressa Shields winning the golds.

China's Ren Can Can and India's Mary Kom won the silver and bronze at flyweight while another Chinese Li Jin Zi bagged the bronze at women's middleweight.

At Rio Olympics in 2016, the three weight class divisions were retained with Adam and Shield repeating as champions at flyweight and middleweight and France's Estelle Mosseley bagging the gold at lightweight over China's Yin Jin Hua who settled for silver. China's Ren Can Can and Lin Quan also won bronze medals.

In the current Tokyo Olympics, women's boxing was expanded to five with inclusion of featherweight and welterweight classes and reduction of men's boxing competitions to eight with exclusion of the bantamweight.

As in 1964, the Tokyo Olympics 2020 also sees the resurgence of Asia in boxing after being almost shut off from gold medal standings at Rio, that is if Uzbekistan which won many golds would not be considered as part of Asia.

The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at teddyreynoso@yahoo.com and by phone 09215309477.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.


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