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Marcial eyes rocky road to Paris gold

EUMIR Marcial faces tough challenges when he competes in the Paris Olympics next year. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PSC-POC MEDIA POOL

Eumir Marcial is in real tough company in the 80-kilogram division of the boxing competitions of the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Apart from his Chinese conqueror in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, Marcial will be joined in the light-heavyweight cast by Cuban super champion Arlen Lopez and Ukrainian Oleksandr Khyzhniak.

So far, nine fighters — Marcial included — have secured berths to the Paris Games.

Nine more will be added since the additional entries will come from the Pacific Games (one), World Qualification Tournament 1 in Italy (four), World Qualification Tournament 2 in Thailand (three) and lastly from the Universality place (one).

Toqtarbek Tanatqan, whose parents are from Kazakhstan, beat Marcial for the Asian Games gold last month.

Khyzhniak defeated Marcial in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics.

But it is Lopez, the Cuban from Guantanamo, who is the man to beat in the powerhouse category.

Lopez won the gold medal as a light-heavyweight in Tokyo.

As a middleweight in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, Lopez also bagged the gold, making him a two-time Olympic champion.

Also, Lopez captured the gold as a middleweight during the 2015 world championships in Doha and was a three-time Pan American Games gold medalist.

Like Marcial, Lopez is also a professional fighter with a 2-0 record with two knockouts.

Marcial, who celebrated his 28th birthday yesterday, is 4-0.

The country’s lone medalist for boxing during the last Asian Games, Marcial is expected to do two more pro fights before heading to Paris.

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