TOKYO—Eumir Felix Marcial settled for a bronze medal in the men’s middleweight class of boxing at the Summer Olympic Games, but his journey didn’t end in Tokyo.
Marcial would like a shot at the Olympics again three years from now in Paris even though he has already turned professional since September of last year.
“Tuloy po ang laban. Sana magkaroon ng pagkakataon para makalaro sa Paris kasi lahat ng atleta pangarap ang gold sa Olympics,” said Marcial after he rammed into a Ukrainian cyborg in Oleksandr Khyzhniak and bowed in a split decision loss, 2-3, thereby preventing him from entering the battle for gold.
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 silver of flyweight Carlo Paalam.
After turning pro, Marcial 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 training with us, although his Colorado [Springs] training helped him a lot,” said Philippine Olympic Boxing Team’s Australian coach Don Abnett, who offered a suggestion what needs to be done in order to prepare the boxers to the fullest. “Some dual matches in Europe would have been an ideal thing for us.”