TOKYO — Eumir Marcial got a relatively light draw but fellow gold medal favorite Nesthy Petecio got lined up for an early collision with the world No. 1 in her division in the boxing competitions of the Tokyo Olympics.
Marcial drew a bye on the strength of his world No. 3 ranking in the men’s middleweight (69-75 kgs) division and makes his debut against the winner of the preliminary between Algeria’s Younes Nemouchi and Ugandan Kavuma David Ssemujju.
Two wins to a win, four wins to a gold
Tagged by two major news agencies as a favorite for the gold medal, Marcial needs just two wins to reach the semifinals and assure Team Philippines of its first medal in this quadrennial conclave at the Kokugikan Stadium.
His compatriot Petecio, however, drew the short end of the stick.
Petecio is expected to easily hurdle Marcelat Sakobi Matshu of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the featherweight (54-57 kg) class in the first boxing match of the Tokyo Summer Games on Saturday morning.
But a victory there will line her up for an early face-off against Taiwanese world No. 1 Lin Yu-ting.
Although ranked No. 7 in the world, Petecio is the reigning world champion in her division and Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) executive director Ed Picson feels she is capable of handling Lin.
“The draw could have been better but we prepared for the worst so we’re still optimistic,” Picson said.
Irish Magno will be the only underdog among the Filipinos in their opening matches as she takes on Christine Ongare of Kenya in the preliminary round of the women’s flyweight (48 to 51 kilograms) division on Sunday.
“I have a feeling she can take on this girl,” said Picson. Ongare is ranked 17th in the world while Magno is No. 25.
On Monday, Carlo Paalam, at No. 25 in the world, comes in as the slight favorite against 32nd-ranked Irishman Brendan Irvine in the preliminaries of the men’s flyweight (48-52 kg) division.
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