By Jean Malanum

OLYMPIANS. Filipino boxers Nesthy Petecio and Aira Villegas (3rd and 4th from left) both qualified for this year’s Paris Olympics. The two are with other officials (from left) Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines secretary general Marcus Manalo, coach Don Abnett and coaches Rey Galido and Mitchell Martinez. (Contributed photo) 

MANILA – Boxers Nesthy Petecio and Aira Villegas will be going to Paris this July following their impressive performances at the 1st World Qualification Tournament in Busto Arsizio, Italy, on Tuesday.

Petecio beat Turkiye’s Esra Yildiz, 4-1, in the semifinal of the women’s 57kg category to earn a return trip to the Olympics after winning the silver medal in Tokyo.

“I am so blessed. This is very important for me because maybe this is my last Olympics,’’ said Petecio in an interview with

“I got this ticket for so many people, especially my family, to God, and for our former President who died (past Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines president Ed Picson), and for my partner in life. Before (the tournament), I promised her that I would win the ticket to Paris and finally this is it! I’m so happy,” added the 31-year-old from Santa Cruz, Davao del Sur.

“I will not stop until I get the Olympic gold medal,” Petecio added.

Villegas, on the other, pulled off a 5-0 win over Bulgaria’s Zlatislava Chukanova in the quarterfinals of the women’s 50kg class.

Petecio and Villegas will join fellow boxer and Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Eumir Marcial, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, and gymnasts Carlo Yulo and Aleah Finnegan in the Paris Summer Games scheduled from July 26 to August 11. (PNA)