Despite everything that’s going on, I’m smiling a lot easier these days. With Hidilyn Diaz producing our country’s first gold medal and our boxers still very much in contention, there’s a lot to be positive about.
In my last column I predicted that we are not done yet and true enough, as I am writing this piece, breaking news comes in that Nesthy Petecio is now just one win away from a gold medal, having defeated her opponent Irma Testa of Italy via majority decision in the women’s featherweight semifinals.
The scorecards were tied going into the final round and Petecio had to dig deep to pull off the win and thankfully, four out of the five judges gave her the third round.
The gold medal match is set on Tuesday against the winner of the bout between the UK and Japan.
CARLO AND EUMIR. Earlier, Carlo Paalam also advanced to the quarterfinals of the men’s flyweight division after defeating Algeria’s Mohammed Flissi.
The other day, Eumir Marcial decimated his opponent Younes Nemouchi in the very first round in his Olympic debut.
He will be fighting today against another Armenian, Arman Darchinyan and if he wins he will be assured of a bronze medal.
Ever since the headgear requirement in men’s boxing matches has been removed, I have always thought our Pinoy fighter’s chances of winning have exponentially increased.
Why? Because our orientation is geared more towards the nuances of professional boxing where emphasis is placed also on punching power and not solely on technique, where amateur boxing thrives.
Before with the headgear on, most of their opponents—especially those coming from the European countries—were so proficient at throwing pitty-pat combinations that produce no real damage but look good on paper and will earn you much-needed points.
This worked even better if you had a height advantage as the extra leverage made it easier to land eye-catching shots while minimizing the risk of any return fire.
Body shots before were not even encouraged as it was difficult to judge their particular impact unlike head shots where you can see the head snap back if a punch is well placed.
The head gear also provided ample protection against the torque produced by a power puncher. This time around, I perceive our chances to be much better, especially with someone like Marcial.
Marcial is a lefty who likes to land hard, accurate punches that do real damage. He is also blessed with a killer instinct who knows how to finish a badly hurt opponent.
So if it’s not too much to ask, please say a good one to the Man above for Marcial who is our Olympic flag bearer.
VERBATIM. “I feel like he’s throwing more than just one-two and different combinations and going to the body now. He’s definitely changed his punch selection.”
-Errol Spence on Manny Pacquiao (www.boxingscene.com)
LAST ROUND. It’s on Melissa Sue Pausanos-Villanueva, Subzilog’s very own “Sue-Chef” who celebrates her birthday this week. Cheers!