Tokyo—Eumir Felix Marcial rammed into a Ukrainian demigod in Oleksandr Khyzhniak and bowed in a split decision loss, 2-3, to settle for a bronze medal in the men’s middleweight boxing competition at the Summer Olympic Games on Thursday.
Khyzhniak, a Ukrainian legend who has not lost a fight since 2016 in an insane 60-0 streak, was just too powerful of a foe even for Marcial, who was visibly spent up in the third round after slightly winning the first two, 3-2, 3-2.
That was when Khyzhniak was at his best, nailing Marcial with power shots to take the round with the nod of all judges and the win via a split verdict.
“Malakas siya na fighter, deserve niyang Manalo. Fair po ang judging dito, ” said Marcial of Khyzhniak, who won gold medals at the world (2017) and European (2017 and 2019) championships and looked ready to win the gold in these pandemic Olympics.
Marcial’s bronze is the Philippines’ third medal in boxing after Nesthy Petecio’s silver in the women’s featherweight and the guaranteed silver of flyweight Carlo Paalam, who 30 minutes earlier pulverized his Japanese foe in Ryomie Tanaka in a 5-0 victory.
Marcial turned pro in September last year and trained for four months under world-renowned trainer Freddie Roach at the Wild Cary Gym. He won his first professional fight, a four-rounder, in December, but hasn’t fought a single bout until last May’s Asian championships in Dubai.
He exited the Dubai tournament in his first fight and agreed to join a training camp with the US boxing team in Colorado Springs.
“He [Marcial] only had six weeks of training with us, although his Colorado [Springs] training helped him a lot,” said Philippine Olympic Boxing Team’s Australian coach Don Abnett.