|Eumir Marcial was off to a great start to his Tokyo Olympics campaign. PSC-POC Media (file photo)|
TOKYO–Expecting to gain precious fight time after drawing a first-round bye, Eumir Marcial instead won a shortened bout against Algerian Younes Nemouchi via a Referee Stopped Contest due to Injury (RSC-I) at 19 seconds of the first round to advance to the quarterfinals of the 69-75kg boxing competitions of the Summer Olympic Games at the Kokugikan Arena here.
The middleweight Marcial was in control from the opening bell and immediately gave the Algerian a taste of his power. A right cross to the kisser sent Nemouchi down, eliciting a standing-8 count from Slovakian referee Radoslav Simon
“Dikit ‘yung laban namin. Pasok lang siya nang pasok. Right hook ko ang tumama sa kanya sa unang bagsak, pero sobrang tibay din ng kalaban. Ilang beses ko rin siyang tinamaan ng body shots, pero nandoon pa rin ‘yung fighting spirit niya na, lalaban talaga siya,” said Marcial.
A silver medalist in the 2019 World Boxing Championship in Yekaterinburg, Russia, Marcial continued to press on with several power shots to the head and body of the Algerian, until the two clashed heads in the final 1:10, prompting the ring official to check the condition of Nemouchi, who suffered a slight gash above his right eye.
The fight, watched by both Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez and Philippine Olympic Committee president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, continued from there but was finally stopped with 19 seconds left when the referee deemed the Algerian can no longer continue with his injury.
“Masaya po ako siyempre sa pagkapanalo. Hindi pa ito ‘yung last fight, marami pang fights na darating. Kasama ‘yung mga coaches ko, paghahandaan pa po namin ‘yung mga susunod na laban,” said Marcial crediting both his national team coaches Ronald Chavez, Gerson Nietes, Reynaldo Galido, Elmer Pamisa and Don Abnett, and pro mentor Freddie Roach, with whom he trained under at his Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles.
Marcial tries to assure the Philippines of another bronze medal on Sunday against Armenian pro, Arman Darchinyan, who he has beaten in the 2018 AIBA World Championships.
“Nakalaban ko na po siya (Darchinyan) noong 2018 sa Russia, tinalo ko siya doon pero siyempre, itong Olympics talagang lahat naghanda para rito. Alam ko na handang-handa siya sa laban niya. Kaya ginawa ko lang kung ano ‘yung best ko,” said Marcial. Darchinyan was impressive 15 minutes earlier as he mauled Slovakia’s Andrej Csemez, 5-0, to set up a return match against the Filipino.
“The fight underscored the great conditioning, excellent tactics, and overall preparation Eumir underwent the last 3 months before Tokyo. Coach Gerson Nietes, who first trained him at the USA Olympic Boxing Center in Colorado Springs before they were joined by Men’s Head Coach Ronald Chavez, worked doubly hard to mold Marcial to this deliberate, calculating, and powerful style as envisioned by our Olympic Head Coach Don Abnett. It was he who developed the training programs of both the men and women and daily monitored developments in Marcial’s training from our other camp in Thailand,” said Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines boxing secretary-general Ed Picson.
“I am so happy that Marcial is back to his old form and with polished new moves, he developed in the last 3 months that he trained with us. And I believe he will only get better because his mind and body are now fully focused. Also, he told us that his Kababayan Hidilyn’s victory inspired and motivated him even more. Welcome back, Eumir. We pray for your continued success, in the Olympics and beyond,” said boxing president Ricky Vargas.
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