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Led by Petecio and Marcial, PH boxing delivers greatest Olympics but in Tokyo

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Filipino boxers Eumir Marcial and Nesthy Petecio

Filipino boxers Eumir Marcial and Nesthy Petecio. AFP FILE PHOTOS

MANILA, Philippines–Before Hidilyn Diaz won the weightlifting gold medal at the Tokyo Games, boxing was long considered by many to be the sport that would deliver the Philippines’ breakthrough Olympic gold.

Throughout the Philippines’ history in the Olympics prior to Tokyo 2020, five of the country’s first 10 medals have come from boxing and two came close to winning it all with silver medalists Anthony Villanueva in Tokyo 1964 and Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco in Atlanta 1996.

In this year’s Games alone, however, as many as three boxers could take home the gold.

Featherweight Nesthy Petecio is on the cusp, middleweight Eumir Marcial only needs a couple of victories while flyweight Carlo Paalam is just three wins away.

But regardless of what happens next, the Philippines is guaranteed to finish with multiple medalists for the first time since Los Angeles 1932, where high jumper Simeon Toribio, bantamweight boxer Jose Vilanueva and swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso bagged the bronze.

Petecio already secured at least a silver after making the women’s featherweight final while Marcial, after his spectacular knockout of Arman Darchinyan in the middleweight quarterfinal on Sunday, assured himself of a bronze.

“Kita niyo naman ibang-iba mga boxers natin ngayon (As you can see, our boxers are very different now),” praised Ricky Vargas, Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines president, in a TV interview shortly after Marcial’s win.

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