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Marcial eyes finals, Olympics slot

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PSC-POC Media Group Eumir Marcial hopes to cash in on his punching power to make the final of the 80 kg event in the 19th Asian Games in Hanzghou, China.

HANGZHOU, China — Eumir Marcial shoots not just for a final seat in the 80 kg (light-heavyweight division) of the 19th Asian Games but a ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics when he battles Syrian puncher Ahmad Ghousoon in the semifinals Wednesday at the Hangzhou Gymnasium.

A victory by the Filipino pro boxer will have him advance in the gold medal round, but more importantly, secure a ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Boxing is one of six sports which serve as a qualifier to the Olympics.

Marcial won a bronze in the Tokyo Games while fighting as a middleweight.

Yet, he appears to be settling in his new weight class at light-heavy given the outcome of his previous fights, including a second-round knockout win over Weerapon JongJoho of Thailand in Sunday’s quarterfinal.

Ghousoon, who comes from a family of boxers and served as flagbearer of Syria during the Asiad opening ceremony, fights with an aggressive stance and doesn’t know how to back down, a style which Philippine head coach Ronald Chavez finds to Marcial’s liking.

“Palusob (Aggressive)” was how Chavez describes the 27-year-old Syrian, a 5-0 winner against Taijikistan Shabbos Negmatulloev in the quarterfinals.

By reaching the semis, Marcial is already assured of matching the same finish he had during the 2018 edition of the Asiad in Palembang, Indonesia.

But this time he wanted more, including that coveted automatic spot in the Paris Olympiad.

Ghousoon, meanwhile, is out to ruin his party plans.

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