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Ready for Paris — Marcial’s Olympic send-off in the works


‘We have judges and we need to respect their decision. We’ll just see each other in Paris.’

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF EUMIR MARCIAL/FB EUMIR Marcial is determined to win a medal when he returns to the Summer Olympics in Paris next year.

TOKYO, Japan — The 2024 Paris Olympics sendoff for Eumir Marcial will take place in March 2024 in the Philippines.

Marcial, the only Filipino boxer who has made the grade for the Olympics so far, will have the full backing of American fight figure Al Haymon of Premier Boxing Champions and Sean Gibbons in his fifth professional fight.

Marcial, who took the middleweight bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics, will be seeing action in the light-heavyweight class after the middleweight category was scrapped.

“This fight would be a major preparation for his Olympic gold medal quest,” Gibbons told DAILY TRIBUNE on Tuesday just hours before the unification fight between Marlon Tapales and Naoya Inoue at the Ariake Arena here.

He earned the Paris trip after finishing second in the 19th Hangzhou Asian Games last October.

The last time he fought in the pro ranks, Marcial battered Ricardo Villalba of Argentina last February in San Antonio, Texas.

The Zamboanga-born southpaw is currently in training for his next pro outing.

Marcial, who is a talent of the Manny Pacquiao-owned MP Promotions, turned pro in Los Angeles in December 2020. He currently holds a 4-0 card with two knockouts.

It’s going to be his second stint in the Summer Games.

During his Olympic debut in Tokyo three years ago, Marcial drew a bye in the Round of 16 before beating Younes Nemouchi of Algeria in his opening bout and Arman Darchiyan of Armenia in the quarterfinals.

But the semifinals were a different story.

Ranged against a crafty Ukrainian in Oleksandr Khyzhniak, the Filipino slugger faded in a close fight, absorbing a split decision setback to settle for the bronze medal in the men’s middleweight event.

With the win, Khyzhniak, who has not lost in over five years, extended his winning streak to 62 before falling prey to Hebert Conceicao of Brazil in the gold medal match.

In Paris, Marcial’s road to a gold medal will again be littered with landmines.

Khyzhniak will be back to block his path after ruling the 2023 European Games in Krakow, Poland last July. Also in the mix are other European superstars in Salvatore Cavallaro of Italy, Gabrijel Veocic of Croatia, and Murad Allahverdiyev of Azerbaijan.

Abdelrahman Oraby of Egypt also qualified as well as Wanderley Pereira of Brazil, Callum Peters of Australia, and super champion Arlen Lopez of Cuba.

Lopez, the Cuban from Guantanamo, will be the man to beat in the powerhouse category.

He is coming in as a two-time Olympic champion after ruling the light heavyweight event in Tokyo as well as the middleweight event in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Lopez also captured the gold as a middleweight in 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.

Aside from Lopez, Chinese Toqtarbek Tanatqan will also be a big challenge for Marcial as he denied him of the gold medal in the Asian Games in controversial fashion.

“Everyone told me that I should have won,” Marcial said shortly after bowing to Toqtarbek in their gold medal match.

“We have judges and we need to respect their decision. We’ll just see each other in Paris.”

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