Eumir Marcial showcased a masterful display of skill and determination in the 19th Asian Games on Wednesday, securing not only a spot in the gold medal round of the men’s 80kg class but also a guaranteed berth in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The formidable Filipino southpaw left no room for doubt in his semifinal bout against Ahmad Ghousoon of Syria at the Hangzhou gymnasium. Marcial dominated the match, flooring the Syrian contender twice in the second round. A precise left jab paved the way for a devastating right hook, sealing the victory in a resounding manner. The official time was 1:49 of the second round.
After the dust had settled, Marcial retreated to his corner, overwhelmed with emotion. He sought solace in the arms of coaches Ronald Chavez and Don Abnett, the realization sinking in that he had earned another shot at Olympic glory.
Boxing stands as one of the select sports in this edition of the continental meet serving as qualifiers for the Paris Olympiad next year.
“At first, I thought maybe the Olympics were not meant for me anymore,” Marcial admitted, his voice tinged with emotion. He had initially harbored doubts about competing in the Olympiad again, especially after his weight class of 75 kg was discontinued in the Paris Games.
However, spurred on by the unwavering support of his family, particularly his wife Princess, Marcial decided to give it one last shot. He made the weight adjustment and temporarily set aside his professional boxing career to focus on the Asiad.
“She (Princess) told me, ‘You can do it, if you have the opportunity, go for it,’” Marcial recalled his conversation with his wife.
Now, he stands just one victory away from claiming that coveted gold.
“Eumir is incredibly focused and devoted. He has prepared extensively not only for the Asian Games but also for his Olympic qualification,” remarked Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino. Marcial extended his heartfelt gratitude to numerous individuals who supported him in his pursuit of another Olympic appearance, including ABAP (Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines) chairman Ricky Vargas, and boxing legend and promoter Manny Pacquiao.
In the quest for Philippine boxing’s first Asiad gold since 2010, Marcial will face off against Tanglatihan Tuohetaerbieke of China, who secured a 4-1 victory over Turabek Khabibullaev of Uzbekistan in the other semifinal bout.
The gold medal showdown is slated for Thursday at 8:45 p.m.