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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Marcial: Pacquiao’s possible Paris bid big boost to team

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With his silver-medal finish in the recent Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, Eumir Marcial has become the first qualified Filipino boxer for the Paris Olympics next year.

And if there’s someone who can inspire him to do better in the Olympics, it would be Manny Pacquiao—his idol, boss, and hopefully, teammate on the Philippine boxing team.

“Sana nga po ma-approve si boss Manny (Pacquiao). Gustung-gusto ko siyang makasama sa team,” said Marcial about the Filipino boxing legend’s impending request for a direct slot in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

As a professional boxer, Marcial is under the MP Boxing Promotions, owned by the former eight-world division champion.

But while plying his trade on the professional stage, the Zamboanga native remains active in the national team and will compete in the light heavyweight division in Paris, hoping to improve his bronze-medal finish as a middleweight in the 2022 Tokyo Olympics.

He recently bagged a silver in the light heavyweight division in Hangzhou, losing the gold medal match to a Chinese foe.

Marcial is preparing for a tough battle against the best in his division, including his Asiad finals’ tormentor, Tuohetaerbie Tanglatihan and Ukraine’s Oleksandr Khyzhniak, who beat him in the semifinals in Tokyo.

The other boxers in Marcial’s division are Pan American Games’ winners gold and silver medalists Arlen Lopez of Cuba and Wanderley Pereira of Brazil, Salvatore Cavallaro of Italy, Gabrijel Vocic of Croatia and Azerbaijan’s Murad Allahverdiyev who were gold, silver and bronze medalists at the European Games, and African Games qualifier Abdelrahman Oraby of Egypt.

Alliance of Boxing Associations of the Philippines secretary general Marcus Manalo said Pacquiao’s inclusion in the will be a big boost to the athletes’ morale.

“If it gets approved, that would be extremely beneficial for us. His presence will be a big boost to the team, not to mention his medal chances,” Manalo said.

The Philippine Olympic Committee has already written the International Olympic Committee IOC requesting Pacquiao’s direct slot in Paris via the universality rule.

Pacquiao’s age of 44 disqualifies him from the Olympic boxing tournament that only caters to athletes limited only to participants aged 19-40 years old.

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