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OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: Elordes play Good Samaritans to Eumir


PhilBoxing.com



Eumir Marcial.

No training venue? No problem.

Back against-the-wall Olympic qualifier Eumir Marcial will be training on his own in preparing for his bid for the country’s first ever Olympic gold medal at any of the gyms owned by husband-and-wife Johnny and Lisa Elorde.

This, the beleaguered high-ranking Filipino middleweight in the world revealed to this OUTSIDER on Sunday more than three months after he earned his ticket to the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games.

Marcial brought home the gold medal in the 75-kilogram division during the Asia/Oceania qualifier in Amman, Jordan last March 9 and earned the right to carry the country’s colors and that of the region in the now 2021 Summer Games, also in the Japanese capital city.

Marcial assured he’s definitely starting his build up program not later than next week in one of the boxing gyms owned by 1979 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Johnny, son of ring great Gabriel “Flash” Elorde and wife Lisa.

“Yes po, I am definitely starting preparations this week. As I have been saying, napakatagal na po ng delay, more than three months na ni hindi man lang ako naka-tutuntong ng ring at nakaka-amoy ng glab,” Marcial kiddingly. “At nasabi ko na rin, naka-ra-ramdam na ako ng panghihina sa kawalan ng gym work.”

The 24-year-old Philippine Air Force airman disclosed that he learned of the Elorde couple’s decision through an emissary, who he asked to talk to the Elordes, precisely, to ask for permission to use one of their gyms in the absence of training facilities due to the outbreak of Covid 19 pandemic.

The Elorde couple, through Lisa, the moving spirit behind the long-running Flash Elorde Annual Awards Banquet honoring the year’s top fighters, readily granted his request, Marcial said, quoting his emmissary.

“Napakabait po nila at napakalaking maitulong po ang ginawa nilang pagpayag in my mission to end the country’s and our countrymen’s 96 years of thirst for that elusive gold medal,” he exclaimed. “What I can only promise is the more I will be motivated to succeed in our goal.”

Marcial excitedly added Lisa, daughter of the late former media man Mac Vicencio, even promised to grant the use of the gym for free. “I don’t have to worry daw po ng gastos. Even the use of equipment, libre na rin.“

“Tamang-tama naman po, kasi ni wala nga akong magamit na punching bag, kaya puro shadow-boxing lang ako buong three months na nakalipas,” he lamented. “Humingi po ako ng punching bag sa ABAP (Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines) pero two months na hindi pa dumarating.

He said, though, commissioner Ramon Fernandez of the Philippine Sports Commission promised to buy him one.

Marcial said the timing to start building up is just right adding that next month will exactly mark the one-year countdown for the 2021 Games.

“Dapat naman talaga one year and build up. Olympics na ang paghahandan natin. Timing is just right kasi I still have to recover precious time lost owing to my failure to train right after the qualifier,” he quipped.

Lisa, for her part, in a separate interview, said she and Johnny just cannot say no to Eumir’s request as “it is for the country naman. Si Daddy (Flash), nagging coach din naman ng national team noong 1970s at alam naming matutuwa siya at papayag din had he been alive today.”

“Johnny and all his brothers and sisters are all Elordes at dugong boksingero at ang dugong nananalaytay sa mga ugat ng mga ‘yan,” Lisa said. “Our sons Bay and Migs even followed in the footsteps of their grandpa, nag-boksing din.”

“So nang malaman namin ang problema ni Eumir, we immediately gave him the go-signal to use one of our gyms na malapit sa bahay niya,” she said in reference to Marcial’s place of residence in Imus in Cavite.

“Bay and Migs are both former amateurs, they also know the problems facing amateur fighters, no money, no equipment,” she bemoaned. “So, we’re opening the doors to one of our gyms for Eumir to use, free, including the use of equipment.”


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


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