Philippines’ Nesthy Petecio celebrates after defeating Myanmar’s Oo Nwe Ni to claim the gold medal during the 30th South East Asian Games 2019 Women’s Featherweight (57 kg). INQUIRER PHOTO/ Sherwin Vardeleon

MANILA, Philippines—Nesthy Petecio has had memorable opponents down her storied amateur career but there’s one person she’s itching to face one more time.

With a trip at the Tokyo Olympics still not at her grasp, Petecio is looking to get one at the world qualifiers in 2021 and she’s expecting to meet old rival Yin Junhua at the competition.

Petecio already fought Yin during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta but lost via split decision in the first round, a result that didn’t sit well with Philippine boxing officials, with the Chinese slugger eventually taking the gold in the continental tiff.

This fight was what started a mutual respect between the two and a chance meeting in the Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifiers just proved that the admiration between them was there.

“We talked with each other after the qualifiers because we were at the doping area at the same time,” said Petecio in Filipino in an interview with Radyo Pilipinas. “She told me that we didn’t fight in this competition but maybe we can in the world championship.”

Despite continental and world accolades, both Petecio and Yin have not claimed Olympic slots yet after the Asia-Oceania qualifiers.

Yin Junhua

China’s Yin Junhua (blue) celebrates her win over North Korea’s Jo Son Hwa (not pictured) in their women’s feather (57kg) boxing final at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on September 1, 2018. (Photo by BAY ISMOYO / AFP)

Petecio, who won the featherweight gold medal in the Aiba World Boxing Championships, entered the top seed of the qualifying tournament but bowed to Japan’s Sana Irie in the quarterfinals while Yin lost to eventual champion Lin Yu-ting of Taiwan in her own quarterfinal match.

The 28-year-old boxer from Davao City said that she never saw Yin as an arrogant person. In fact, she found it admirable that Yin was looking closely at her career.

“I never saw her as cocky and I was even happy that she was monitoring my career,” said Petecio. “I just thought that she’s also following me and it’s a great feeling that there’s someone who wants to fight me in the future.”

Before she takes on anyone, however, Petecio first has to prepare herself amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Petecio said she can get into top fighting shape in three to four months but the hardest part of her preparation will be getting over the mental strain.

“I have trust in my coaches and the real opponent here is myself really. Even if you’re physically fit but my mind isn’t there then it’s all for nothing.”

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