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Tough foes await Marcial in Paris

HANGZHOU, China — After falling short of winning the gold medal in the 19th Asian Games, Eumir Marcial is setting his sights on winning the crown in the Paris Olympics next year.

But the road to the gold medal will not be easy.

World-class competitors stand between the 33-year-old Marcial and his goal of emerging as the second Filipino gold medalist in the Summer Games set from 27 July to 10 August. Tanglatihan Tuohtaerbieke, the Chinese who clinched the gold medal in the Asian Games, banners the tough field as well as European qualifier Murad Allahverdiyevs Salvador Cavallaro of Italy, Oleksandr Khyzhniak of Ukraine, Gabrijel Veocic of Croatia, of Azerbaijan, and Abdelrahman Oraby of Egypt.

The 26-year-old Tanglatihan is a natural light heavyweight who won the silver medal in the World Amateur Boxing Championships while the 28-year-old Cavallaro won the bronze medal in the European Games to earn a ticket to the Paris Olympics.

Khyzhniak, a 5-foot-11 boxer from Poltava, will be coming in as one of the favorites as he won the gold medal in the European Games. His foe in the gold medal match of the European Games was 6-foot-3 Veocic, who is also expected to be a strong force to be reckoned with.

The field, however, is not yet complete as there are still 10 slots at stake as well as a universality place.

Two slots will be at stake in Pan American Games, one in the Pacific Games, and seven in the World Qualification Tournaments.

But Marcial said he will be ready.

“I will have a lot of time to prepare for the Olympics,” said Marcial shortly after absorbing a unanimous decision setback to Tanglatihan in the final of the men’s lightweight event late Thursday at the Hangzhou Gymnasium here.

He was clutching the silver medal while vowing to do well in the Olympics.

“This is not just a silver medal, this is also a ticket to the Paris Olympics,” Marcial, who already won a bronze medal in the Summer Games in Tokyo, said.

“I know the battle in Paris will not be easy but I will do my best to turn this Asian Games silver into an Olympic gold.”

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