Hangzhou – Despite a blazing start, Eumir Marcial fell short of clinching the gold in the 19th Asian Games, succumbing to Tanglatihan Tuohetaerbieke of host China in a hard-fought final at the Hangzhou gymnasium on Thursday night, October 5.
In a tightly contested match, Marcial, 27, lost by unanimous decision with a score of 5-0. Both fighters exhibited tremendous resilience, each receiving a standing eight count in the course of the bout.
The match hung in the balance heading into the third and final round. However, the five judges ultimately favored the Chinese contender, awarding him the gold.
Marcial, who secured a spot in the Paris Olympics by advancing to the 80 kg finals, settled for the silver, expressing regret over a fight he believed was within his grasp.
“It’s disappointing because I took the first round,” Marcial lamented, recalling how he caught the Chinese opponent with a powerful straight right, resulting in a standing eight count.
“I thought the last round was mine. That’s how I felt.”
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Bambol Tolentino echoed Marcial’s sentiments. “We didn’t stand a chance against the host. We clearly had the first and third rounds,” he affirmed.
Tuohetaerbieke, a silver medalist in this year’s World Championship, rallied back with a powerful combination that compelled the referee to administer a standing eight count to Marcial, catching the Filipino fighter off guard.
The final round saw both competitors trading blows relentlessly, refusing to yield an inch.
As the bout concluded, both Marcial and the Chinese fighter raised their hands in acknowledgment of their valiant efforts.
“Of course, I have to respect the judges’ decision. That’s their call. But congratulations to China,” remarked the Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist.
The silver medal represents an upgrade from the bronze Marcial secured in the 2018 Asiad in Palembang, Indonesia, when he competed as a middleweight.
Marcial stands as the sole medalist among the nine-man boxing team, a testament to his exceptional skill and determination in the ring.
He took to social media and expressed his gratitude to God and his supporters.
Marcial said, “While it was not the outcome we expected and the medal we hoped to bring home, I am beyond happy and overwhelmingly proud of this amazing feat. This victory would have not been possible without all the outpouring of support from all the Filipino fans.”
He thanked the Filipinos for continuously believing in him as he also urged them to keep supporting him in his participation in the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics.
“I understand that many of you felt disappointed with how the decision ruled not in favor of us, but your support makes me feel that I already won the gold. There’s always a learning opportunity in every match. Nevertheless, I send my congratulations to China,” Marcial said. “See you, Paris! The GOLD is in Paris!”