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Marcial braces for familiar foe

EUMIR Marcial claims that he is getting comfortable competing in the light heavyweight class of the men’s boxing event of the 19th Asian Games.  | PHOTOGRAPH courtesy of POC-PSC MEDIA POOL

HANGZHOU, China — Eumir Marcial declares readiness to conquer new heights and shoot for the crown in the light heavyweight division of the 19th Asian Games.

But before he could assert his dominance, he has to overcome a familiar foe who is out to avenge a heartbreaking loss four years ago.

Marcial said he will show up prepared when he battles Nguyen Manh Cuong of Vietnam in the quarterfinals of the men’s 80-kilogram class boxing competition on Tuesday at the Hangzhou Gymnasium here.

It’s going to be a rumble as Marcial and Nguyen are now both fighting in a heavier division after the organizers decided to scratch their fighting weight at 75 kgs.

In his first match at light heavyweight, Marcial was impressive as he battered Dalai Ganzorig of Mongolia from start to finish to pull off a unanimous victory late Sunday.

“My movements in my weight class now are okay. Although I am more comfortable in my fighting weight, middleweight, I am working hard because things will get tough from here,” Marcial told a group of Manila-based sportswriters after carving out a masterful performance.

“But now, I am in good condition and my air is okay; I didn’t get tired easily.”

He said he was extra careful against the rugged Mongolian fighter who threw all kinds of dirty tricks at him in the final stretch of their match.

“I was careful because I know that this is just the start. I avoided injuries like head clashes because, as you know, when southpaw and orthodox fight, their heads are always clashing. So I tried to be very careful against him.”

But the real battle will be against Nguyen, whom Marcial knocked out during their first gold medal match in the 30th Southeast Asian Games in Manila.

Should he beat Nguyen, he will be facing either the dangerous Weerapon Jongjoho of Thailand or Issei Aramoto of Japan in the semifinals.

From there, anything can happen.

“I heard my next opponent is the Vietnamese whom I already defeated in the SEA Games before,” Marcial said before wrapping up the short interview.

“I will make sure to prepare for him.”

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