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Opinion

Marcial barges into quarterfinals but Magno bows out of Olympics

Emmanuel B. Villaruel - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — A well-rested Eumir Marcial made short work of his Algerian opponent for a rousing Olympics debut.

Favored to win gold medal in his division, Marcial lived up to expectations after sending out Younes Nemouchi via Referee Stopped Contest due to Injury (RSC-I) at 19 seconds of the first round to march into the men’s middleweight quarterfinals of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the Kokugikan Arena yesterday.

Marcial, already a pro who trained with the legendary Freddie Roach at the fabled Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, pressed the attack button right from the opening bell.

The Zamboanga City native pugilist landed a solid right to the chin that sent Nemochi down on both knees, prompting a standing-8 count from Slovakian referee Radoslav Simon.

At the 1:10 mark, the referee called for a break to check the condition of Nemouchi who was bloodied after suffering a small cut above his right eye due to accidental clash of heads.

Nemouchi continued from there but the bout was finally stopped with 19 seconds left when the ring officialdeemed the Algerian can no longer continue with his injury.

“Masaya po ako siyempre sa pagkapanalo. Hindi pa ito ‘yung last fight, marami pang fights na darating. Kasama ‘yung mga coaches ko, paghahandaan pa po namin ‘yung mga susunod na laban,” said Marcial, who will next face Armenian pro Arman Darchinyan on Sunday for a spot in the semifinals.

It was not all jubilation though for the Filipino fighters as they absorbed their first defeat when Irish Magno bowed to Thailand’s Jutamas Jitpong by unanimous decision in the women’s flyweight Round of 16.

Four judges penned the bout 30-27 in favor of Jitpong while another saw it 29-28, effectively ending Magno’s maiden Olympic journey.

With Magno’s setback, three Pinoy pugs remain in medal contention. Aside from Marcial, still in the hunt for the coveted gold are Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam.

EUMIR MARCIAL
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