HANGZHOU, China — Eumir Marcial flirted with disaster before booking a knockout victory over Weerapon Jongjoho of Thailand in the quarterfinals of the men’s 80-kilogram boxing event of the 19th Asian Games late Sunday at the Hangzhou Gymnasium here.
The 27-year-old Marcial struggled in the opening round as Weerapon used his height and reach to his advantage in controlling the match.
With the win, Marcial will not advance to the semifinals against Ahmad Ghossoun of Syria, who outpointed Shabbos Negmatulloev of Tajikistan in the other quarterfinal encounter.
Weerapon, a bronze medalist in the AIBA World Championships two years ago, was dictating the tempo of the bout when he connected a devastating right straight that prompted the referee to give the Filipino Olympian a standing eight count.
“I got terrified because I knew he was leading in the first round. Then, the referee gave me a standing eight count. I had a tough time because he was so tall,” said Marcial, who unleashed a loud scream before facing Manila-based sportswriters at the mixed zone.
“Then at the last minute, I told myself that I would give everything I’ve got. Fortunately, I got the result that I wanted.”
Marcial said Weerapon’s power was too much.
“I have to admit that I nearly lost it when I got hit. As you can see, the size of my foe was so big. It was something I was looking out for,” said Marcial, who already has four victories as a professional fighter.
“I just told the referee that it’s nothing. But the truth is that I got dizzy.”
True enough, Marcial’s patience paid off.
He caught Weerapon’s defense napping and connected a crisp right hook off a beautiful combination. The power punch sent the Thai into the canvas, signaling Marcial’s scary victory.
“Due to the height of his foe, we told him to fight from mid and short ranges. We also told him to hit straight into the body and then deliver a right hook. Fortunately, Eumir was able to execute that,” Marcial’s coach Ronald Chavez said.
“He did that and we were able to win.”
Marcial is set to fight for a slot in the finals on Tuesday.