Marcial back in pro ranks

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

Tokyo Olympics middleweight boxing bronze medalist Eumir Marcial returns to the pro ranks against a more experienced Steven Pichardo in a six-rounder at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson City, California, on Saturday (Sunday morning, Manila time) with visions of someday fighting for the world championship.

Marcial, 26, took a break from his pro journey to bag a gold at the SEA Games in Hanoi and a bronze at the Tokyo Games last year but hasnt fought since. Hes had two pro bouts so far, making his debut in a four-round win on points over Andrew Whitfield in Los Angeles in December 2020 then coming off the canvas thrice to halt Isiah Hart at 2:13 of the fourth round in Las Vegas in April last year. Marcial wouldve lost a decision to Hart if their encounter went the distance but recovered in time to book the stoppage.

Whether Marcial has learned from the near mishap against Hart or not will be revealed this weekend. Pichardo, 26, is a 6-1 righthander from Torrance, California and has an 8-2-1 record, with two KOs. He racked up seven wins in a row then was held to a split six-round draw by Dewayne Williams in December last year. Pichardo is coming off a loss to unbeaten Shady Gamhour in an eight-rounder in Las Vegas last April. His other defeat was to Ferdinand Kerobyan, also on points, in his second pro outing. One of his wins was a first-round knockout over Dennis Reed.

Were very excited to have Eumir coming off his huge bronze medal representing the Philippines in the Tokyo Olympics, returning to the professional ranks, making a new chapter in his life and moving forward to becoming a world champion,” said MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons. “Hes got a good opponent in front of him, a seasoned veteran. We hope Eumir comes out victorious and hes back in the ring in December or January and looking for big things.”

Marcial moved to Las Vegas with wife Princess last September and has been training with Jorge Capetillo and strength/conditioning coach Memo Heredia. Although he hasnt broken out of fighting four-rounders, Marcial is touted to be a future top 10 contender. Gibbons isnt rushing him but is convinced his destiny lies in reigning as world champion. Only one Filipino has won the world middleweight crown and Ceferino Garcia ruled in 1939-40, over 80 years ago. The 160-pound division is loaded with tough guys with Gennady Golovkin holding the super WBA and IBF titles, Jermall Charlo the WBC belt and Janibek Alimkhanuly the WBO strap. The championship situation will surely be different when Marcial ripens for a title shot but the challenge will remain daunting.

Marcial looked shaky in his last pro appearance although he pulled off a win with less than a minute to go. Against a stylist like Pichardo, Marcial cant afford to start slowly and has to go for broke from the onset. Itll be a big test for sure. One thing Marcial must decide is what road to focus on in his boxing career. Crossing over from pro to the SEA Games or Asian Games and back then to the Olympics and back could be a source of confusion. There are significant differences in preparing for a pro fight and an event like the Olympics and Marcial has to make up his mind sooner or later where to stake his future.


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