Eumir Marcial
Joey Mendoza, file
Marcial’s priority is Olympic quest
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - May 24, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — There’s no doubt in Olympic middleweight boxing qualifier Eumir Marcial’s mind that his priority is representing the country in the Tokyo Games next year and his commitment to ABAP to go for gold is as strong as ever.

Marcial said yesterday he will not make a decision on how to prepare for the Olympics – as a pro or amateur – until meeting with ABAP president Ricky Vargas and secretary-general Ed Picson. But he indicated that with the uncertainty of the Olympics pushing through because of the pandemic, maybe, it’s time to consider turning pro. The other day, Marcial had a one-hour video conference call with Picson and ABAP sports psychologist Marcus Manalo to discuss options for the future. Marcial made it clear he has neither signed a contract with an agent or lawyer nor designated a spokesman.

“Wala pang desisyon,” said Marcial. “Hintayin ko mag-usap muli kami nina Mr. Vargas at Mr. Picson. Ang payo nila ay mahalaga kasi matagal na kaming nagsama, parang isang dekada na. Habang may quarantine, pagaaralan ko mga options. Huwag sana closed door yung pagiging pro. Salamat sa mga tumutulong sa akin at nagbibigay ng advice. Sinasaliksik kong mabuti ang mga opinion ng hinihingan ko ng tulong.”

Marcial confirmed that he has been approached by several boxing groups to manage his professional career. “Si Shelly (Finkel) unang kumausap sa akin,” he said. “Matchroom at Sean Gibbons kinausap na rin ako. Nag-group chat kami ni Senator (Manny) Pacquiao at Sean. Honestly, I want to turn pro. This year, 25 na ako (on Oct. 29). Maiksi ang career sa pro boxing kaya ngayon at malakas pa ako at kondisyon ang katawan ko, baka pwede na ako mag-pro. ‘Di natin alam gaano katagal pwede mag-pro boxing, baka biglang-bigla, wala na ang pagkakataon. Sanay na ako sa pro rules kasi nag WSB (World Series of Boxing) na ako dati. Kung mag-improve ako at makakatulong sa Olympics, baka mag-pro na ako.”

Marcial, however, said even if he turns pro before the Olympics, it won’t mean turning his back on the Tokyo Games. “Kung sakasakali, kasama ko ABAP coaches sa pros so yung focus nasa Olympics pa rin,” he said. “Si Charly (Suarez), nag-pro but lumaban sa last SEA Games at nag-gold medal.” Marcial admitted there is a difference in fighting in the pros and in the Olympics. In the pros, fights are scheduled weeks or even months apart but in the Olympics, bouts are every other day with weigh-ins the morning of each outing. It’s an adjustment that he must make in case he turns pro before Tokyo.

“Ang pangarap ko ay lumaban sa Olympics,” said Marcial. “Kung makakatulong ang pag-pro sa layunin ko, gagawin ko. But kung may ibang plano na maganda ang ABAP, paguusapan din ‘yan. Susuriin kong mabuti para ‘di ako magkamali sa desisyon. Alam ko, kinakausap ng ABAP sina Shelly at Sean para alamin kung ano ang best offer para sa akin at sa kinabubuti ng ating Olympic goal.”

While in quarantine in Imus, Marcial continues to stay in shape with exercises and drills. He’s also attending to his ampalaya, sili, eggplant and tomatoes, among others, planted in sacks and tin cans on the rooftop of his home. To help out those in need in nearby barangays, Marcial is distributing rice, canned food and relief goods. He has reached out to friends to contribute and so far, his collection includes 400 sacks of rice. Marcial isn’t just fighting for the country in the ring but also out of it.

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