Eumir Marcial
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Marcial likes Charly’s chances
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - April 8, 2020 - 12:00am

Olympic middleweight boxing qualifier Eumir Marcial expects at least four more fighters from the ABAP pool to make it to the postponed Tokyo Games next year and recently singled out Charly Suarez as a top bet in the featherweight division if he decides to join the battle for remaining tickets.

Suarez, 31, competed in the 2016 Olympics and lost to the UK’s Joe Cordina on points in his only appearance in Rio de Janeiro. The three-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist has turned pro and now boasts a 4-0 record, with four KOs. There will be five slots in the featherweight class awarded at the rescheduled world qualifying tournament in Paris and if Suarez throws his hat in the derby, he’ll be a favorite because of his experience. The issue is whether Suarez can trim down to 57 kilograms or not.

As a pro, Suarez has scaled in the range of 129 1/4 to 132 pounds. In his most recent outing last February, he weighed 130 to halt Dave Barlas in the third round to win the vacant Luzon Professional Boxing Association superfeatherweight crown. Suarez’ pro fighting weight is in between two Olympic divisions – featherweight (57 kilograms or 125.7 pounds) and lightweight (63 kilograms or 138.9 pounds). At the moment, he’s heavy for a featherweight and light for a lightweight in Olympic terms. To maximize his power, Suarez is better off going down to featherweight in the same way that Nonito Donaire scaled down to bantamweight after fighting up to featherweight in the pros.

Suarez said if he sets his mind to it, reducing to 57 kilograms won’t be difficult. Pro boxers are now allowed to compete in the Olympics so it won’t be a problem for Suarez to participate if he qualifies. The featherweight contenders in the ABAP pool are Ian Clark Bautista and Mario Fernandez. Another prospect is Fil-Am Vincent Siordia. Bautista, 25, failed to make it out of the recent Asia/Oceania qualifiers in Amman while Fernandez, 26, is in military camp. Siordia trained in Manila but is now back in the US.

“Malaking chance ni Charly kung sumali siya sa qualifiers,” said Marcial. “Big factor ang experience niya. Sa world qualifiers, iba-ibang style ang makikita. Dapat nasa kondisyon at madaling makapag-adjust sa laban. Sa amateur, ang timbangan sa umaga ng bawa’t laban. Kailangan manalo ng apat na laban para mag-qualify. Sa pro, pwedeng pag-aralan ang style ng kalaban na mabuti. Sa amateur, iba-iba ang kalaban every other day kaya mahirap ang scouting. Kung magkaroon ka ng injury, walang oras mag-recover kasi tuloy-tuloy ang laban. Kaya, malaking bagay ang experience.”

In the flyweight division, Marcial said it’s a toss-up between 2016 Olympian Rogen Ladon and Carlo Paalam. “Not yet time ni Carlo sa Asia/Oceania qualifiers although maganda ang pinakita niya,” he said. “Si Rogen, may experience. Pareho silang nag-gold sa SEA Games last December. Kung sino sa kanila ang lalaban sa world qualifier, malamang papasok sa Olympics. Sa lightheavyweight division, big chance na mag-qualify si John (Marvin). Malas siya sa SEA Games at hindi siya sumali sa Asia/Oceania qualifiers dahil sa injury. Pero naka-recover na siya. Sa women, si Nesthy (Petecio) kayang mag-qualify sa featherweight.”

Marcial and women’s flyweight Irish Magno are the only ABAP qualifiers for the Tokyo Games so far. They made it through the Jordan qualifiers. Magno will be the first Filipina ever to represent the country in boxing in the Olympics. Marcial topped the Asia/Oceania qualifiers and could become the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medalist.

EUMIR MARCIAL
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