With the Tokyo Olympics pushed back to 2021, boxing hopefuls face the quandary of sitting on the sidelines or turning their attention to the pro ranks instead. The Philippines’ best hope for gold, Eumir Marcial, decided to do both. After recently signing with Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions, the 24-year-old middleweight is looking to have his first of “[h]opefully three” pro fights in October before focusing fully on the Games.
Professionals have been permitted to compete in the Olympics since Rio, though we’ve yet to see one make a notable tournament run. Recent qualifiers saw Vikas Krishin and Bakhodir Jalolov make the cut, while top lightweight Delfine Persoon fell in the first round
In addition to confirming that Marcial will stick to four- and six-round fights, Sean Gibbons heaps praise upon him.
Gibbons appears optimistic about Marcial’s potential as a future world champion and said the 24-year-old, who is also the first amateur fighter he’s ever had in his stead, is “the brightest, the biggest one I’ve ever worked with as a prospect in 35 years of boxing.”
“What makes Eumir special is two things that you don’t learn - either you’re born with it and you have it, or you don’t. He’s a puncher and he’s got heart, and he’s got a good chin, and he’s got the determination and the will to win,” Gibbons emphasized. “When I watch him fight, you don’t see guys ever at this weight from the Philippines. It’s historic already. What he’s able to accomplish at 165 pounds in the amateurs, it’s unheard of.”
“There’s a lot of prospects all over the world, but I only have one, and one and only is all I’m doing,” he reiterated. “I’ve never done one in 35 years. This is the first one, and it’s gonna be the best one. I’ve never been involved with anybody that’s going to the Olympics, so I’m thrilled that he chose us to go along with his journey with him.”
Marcial won the 2011 Junior World Championships, thrice claimed gold at the Southeast Asian Games, took bronze at the 2018 Asian Games, and took silver at last year’s World Championships. At 5’8”, 165 lbs., he’s bigger than the country’s only previous world middleweight champion, Ceferino Garcia.
Honestly, I like this plan. I’ve already made my case for why letting pros in the Olympics isn’t a safety hazard, so Marcial’s got my support.