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OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: All Eumir Marcial wants is to train for the Olympics


PhilBoxing.com



Marcial.

This OUTSIDER can only commiserate with middleweight Olympic qualifier Eumir Marcial.

Nearly three months after earning his ticket last March 8 (March 9 in Manila) to the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games, the 24-year-old Zamboangueño has been idle and wanting to train seriously in preparation for his bid to give the country its first Olympic gold medal.

This is a reason for him to express fear that he might become stagnant and lose whatever he had gained through the years of preparations for the Summer Games.

It can be recalled that even before his second try for an Olympic slot, he promised his father and countrymen that he would do the best he could to attain his goal. Marcial did, topping his 75-kilogram division in the Asia/Oceania qualifier. And he has repeatedly been reiterating that he has not been remiss with that vow.

Since then, however, he’s been waiting and begging the country’s ruling body, the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP), for a training program for him to fulfill his promise of ending the Philippines’ long, 96-year dream that started when it first took part in what is also known as the “Greatest Sports Show on Earth.”

Meanwhile, several offers for him to turn pro kept flooding his desk from at least three American managerial outfits — Shelly Finkel, Kit Connoly and Eddie Hearns’ Match Room Sports.

Even the MP Promotions of eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao joined in the fray in trying to save what seems Marcial’s promising boxing career and at the same time help him in accomplishing his dream for an Olympic gold medal.

All four outfits, according to reports, had similar financial considerations of no less than $200,000 (roughly P10 million), which Marcial, perhaps tired of waiting as reports also had it, expressed interest in grabbing one of them.

No one can blame those managerial groups from trying to take custody of the Philippine Air Force Airman boxing career.

Marcial happens to be the current No. 2 middleweight in the world and succeeding in winning him an Olympic medal of any color would mean a huge financial reward when he turns pro.

Prizefighting is business, too. Ask Pacquiao himself, now a Philippine senator, and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Marcial, who can drop a bull to its knees with a single punch and elude his attacker with his fast pair of legs, runs second in world amateur middleweight ranking next only to Gleb Bakshi of Russia, the No. 1 ranked, and ahead of Arlen Lopez of Cuba, third; Olexandr Kishinyak of Uzbekistan, fourth; and Tursynbal Kulakhmet of Kazakhstan fifth.

Being a second-ranked fighter in his class, Eumir, thus, is the country’s brightest hope to present the country that much-sought-after Olympic gold.

As a second-seed comes the Olympic competitions in the Tokyo Olympics 2021, he can enjoy the privilege in the drawing of lots for matches especially in deciding who among the competitors draw bye in the opening rounds plus a few more incentives given to highest ranked campaigners.

Reports also said, that with not quite a few qualifiers might not make it to the Olympic site, especially from countries with high cases of Covid-19 victims, thus managerial groups look to favor Marcial and his peers.

Marcial, in a one-on-one interview with this columnist two weeks ago, said he understood the predicament being experienced not only by ABAP, by all other sports leagues due to worldwide lockdown brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

He quickly added though that there should be at least an option as to how the Olympic qualifiers like Irish Magno and others like Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Ian Clark Bautista, who all are almost there, can prepare.

Marcial, likewise, took cognizant of the fact that for five years since he first tried for an Olympic slot, the government through the Philippine Sports Commission, has already spent a treasure, and he doesn’t want to waste the efforts and money spent now that he’s made it and halfway through attaining the target.

He said he’s been doing everything to assure himself and all concerned that competing in the Olympics as a pro is very much permissible. This is in reference to an International Olympic Committee ruling sent to him in answer to his own inquiry.

The IOC, responding to Marcial’s inquiry, said: “No distinction will be made between athletes of any code of boxing in accordance with the current AIBA (International Boxing Association) rules. However, all boxers must comply with the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) anti-doping code, as well as the age limits in accordance with AIBA eligibility rules.”

The IOC ruling was believed to have settled all doubts on whether the pros can compete in all AIBA-sanctioned competitions, including the Olympics.

The IOC had earlier disenfranchised the International Boxing Association (AIBA) and since the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, been running and supervising all its sanctioned competitions, including the Olympic qualifiers.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea of The Manila Times.


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