Yet another historic boxing figure has emerged from the Philippines.
Nesthy Petecio has etched her name in the record books throughout her incredible run in the Tokyo Olympics. The latest entry puts the Filipino southpaw one win away from Gold in the women's featherweight division after outlasting Italy's legendary amateur Irma Testa in the semifinal round Saturday afternoon at Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.
Four of the five judges scored the bout 29-28 in favor of Petecio, while Testa won by the same score on the dissenting card.
The southpaw versus orthodox matchup in addition to the massive five inch height difference between the 5'5" Petecio and 5'10" Testa made for a deliberately paced opening round. Testa looked to establish her long jab, while Petecio—whose favorite boxer is none other than Philippines' all-time greatest, Manny Pacquiao—offered constant upper body movement in looking for the perfect angle to shoot her left hand.
Round two saw both boxers make sound adjustments. Petecio—the first female boxer from the Philippines to medal in the Olympics—switched to orthodox stance midway through the round and looked to score with one-twos. Testa responded in kind, momentarily fighting as a lefty before reverting back to form.
The bout was tied up heading into the final round, with Petecio managing to outwork the two-time Olympian just a little bit more to win the round and fight on four of the five cards.
Testa entered the fight having become the first-ever female boxer from Italy to meda. She accomplished that feat after eliminating number-two seed Michaela Walsh (Ireland) in the Round of 16 before ousting Caroline Veyre in the quarterfinal round.
The run comes five years after Testa served as Italy's first female boxer to compete in the Olympics, enjoying far greater success while anchoring a four-woman team for Italy.
Petecio has enjoyed historic moments every step of the way thus far in Tokyo. Her opening round win over Marcelat Sakobi last Saturday was the first of competition, marking the first women's featherweight bout in the history of the Olympics as the division was introduced this year. It was also the first time a Filipino woman boxed in the Olympics, with her win also a first for her proud nation.
Two days later, Petecio emerged as one of the Games' best developing stories after eliminating number-one seed Yu-Ting Lin from competition in the Round of 16. Petecio racked up her third win in five days after outpointing Colombia's Yeni Arias in Thursday's quarterfinals.
Petecio now has a chance to become the first ever Filipino boxer—male or female—to bring home a Gold medal. She will have to wait until Tuesday afternoon for that moment, by then knowing whether she will face Karriss Artingstall (Great Britain) or Sena Irie (Japan) in the final round.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox