Philippine boxing team finds luck in draw

Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) – July 23, 2021 – 12:00am

TOKYO – Nesthy Petecio will be featured in the kickoff bout in the Tokyo Olympics boxing competition tomorrow, tangling with Congo’s Marcelat Sakobi Matshu at 11 a.m. (10 a.m. in Manila) at the Kokugikan Arena.

As a former world champ ranked No. 7 featherweight here, Petecio is favored against Matshu who is ranked No. 11.

Carlo Paalam and Eumir Marcial also drew lower-ranked foes in what’s considered a good draw for the Philippine boxing team in chase of a first Olympic medal since Onyok Velasco bagged a silver in Atlanta in 1996.

However, No. 25 women’s flyweight Irish Magno will be the underdog versus No. 17 Kenyan Christine Ongare at 11:15 a.m. Sunday.

“The draw could have been better but we prepared for the worst, so we’re still optimistic,” Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) secretary general Ed Picson told The STAR.

Paalam is the third Filipino pug to see action in Tokyo 2020, clashing with Ireland’s Brendan Irvine in a men’s flyweight fight Monday.

The Pinoy is ranked No. 25 while the Irish is No. 32.

Marcial, the top-seeded Filipino fighter here, drew a first-round bye. He faces in the second round on Thursday the winner in a first-round clash between an Algerian and a Ugandan.