MANILA, Philippines — All eyes on the prize as Olympic-bound Filipina boxers Nesthy Petecio, Hergie Bacyadan and Aira Villegas are ready to make history in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

With five boxers representing the Philippines, including Eumir Marcial and Carlo Paalam, coach Ronald Chavez is confident that his pool of ringsters can take home the medal in the prestigious sporting event in Paris.

"We went on the same process. We trained so hard for this. These five boxers are the strongest. Of all the boxers that I trained for the Olympics, they are the strongest, and I witnessed it. I will not say what color of medal they can bring home, but I know that they are the toughest boxers that will compete and represent the Philippines," Chavez said in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) forum in Manila.

Secretary General Marcus Manalo was affirmative and emphasized how the five boxers are firm and resilient.

"We are glad to qualify five boxers since Atlanta 1996. There were also five at that time. I feel like they have a chance to finish the podium and to go all away. We have a good chance to win that gold medal in the Olympics," he said.

"This is a really strong five that we are bringing since the qualification process is difficult already."

Two-time Olympic boxer Petecio shared that the pressure is even greater since she already has experience in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Despite the weight on her shoulders, Petecio eyes to accomplish her unfinished business as she guns to take home the gold medal this time.

"I recalled all my 'whys?' Why did I stay? I could stop after the Tokyo games since I already fulfilled my dream to be in the Olympics and live a normal life and not train—but I chose to stay, and I know that I can prove something."

"I posted a photo along with Olympic bound boxers and one comment stood out: 'the reason why they qualified in the Olympics again since you left the gold medal.' that comment really struck me," Petecio recalled with a spirited smile.

The story is different for Aira Villegas, she encountered a lot of doubts before qualifying for the Olympics.

Villegas shared that she is ready to redeem herself.

"Before I even qualified, I struggled a lot and I doubted myself. Then I suffered from an injury, I backed out of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. I joined a lot of competitions, and now finally I made it to the Olympics, and I fought my way through it." she said.

Hergie Bacyadan the last Filipina boxer who booked an Olympic slot in the 75kg category was teary in recalling all of her mishaps and hardships.

"My journey when it comes to qualifying for the Olympics was not an easy route, I felt the doubt and pressure. I always thought about it at night, whenever I lost a game. I can't focus well during the games and training. When I lost in the second world qualifying I was disheartened to continue, but I rise above it and now I take it one day at a time."

The two male boxers are not present in the press conference as Marcial is currently training overseas, while Paalam is preparing for his son's birthday.

For the final preparations of the boxers, the five pugilists will join the other Filipino Olympic-bound athletes and will train in Metz, France on July 22.

On July 1, the boxers will participate in a training camp in Germany where they will train for three weeks.

2024-06-11T06:48:30Z dg43tfdfdgfd