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Eumir Marcial KO's Armenian foe to enter Tokyo Olympic semis

Wulfren Olivares steps in as Eumir Marcial knocks out Arman Darchinyan. Reuters
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—The Philippines' best campaign so far in the Olympics just got even better.

Men's middleweight boxer Eumir Marcial assured the country of its third Olympic medal this year after another knockout win, this time against Armenian opponent Arman Darchinyan in their quarterfinal meeting on Sunday at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.

Just like his tournament opener against Algerian opponent Younes Nemochi, Marcial did not take long to finish off Darchinyan.

Marcial quickly went on the offensive right after the opening bell, forcing Darchinyan to be on the defensive mode.

The first breakthrough came right at the midway point of Round 1 when referee Wulfren Olivares had seen enough of Marcial's quick combination on Darchinyan and made a standing eight count on the Armenian.

The full stoppage came at the 2:11 mark of the opening period when Marcial delivered a right hook that sent Darchinyan down the canvas, forcing Olivares to call it a bout.

The finish was reminiscent of how Filipino boxing legend Nonito Donaire knocked out Darchinyan's uncle Vic in 2007.

Marcial, seeded fourth in the division but was tagged by the Associated Press as the heavy favorite for the gold, will face tournament top seed Oleksandr Khyzhniak of Ukraine in the semifinals on Thursday.

Khyzhniak booked his way to an assured medal of his own after beating Euri Cedeno of Dominican Republic right before the Marcial-Darchinyan fight.

Khyzhniak turned on the jets in the last two rounds after a tight Round 1 en route to a 4-1 split decision win.

Regardless of the result, Khyzhniak and Marcial will walk away with at least a bronze.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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