Eumir Marcial kept the Philippines’ boxing hopes alive at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, inching closer to a coveted medal, while teammate John Marvin exited the competition on Friday, September 29.
Marcial, the Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist, showcased his dominance in the men’s 80kg class, securing a unanimous decision victory over Vietnam’s Manh Cuong Nguyen. The judges’ scorecards echoed Marcial’s supremacy, with scores of 30-24, 30-25, 30-26, 30-26, and 30-27.
Although this victory wasn’t as electrifying as Marcial’s previous encounter with Nguyen, where he secured a first-round knockout to claim gold at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in Manila, it nonetheless propelled him closer to a guaranteed bronze medal. Marcial’s next challenge awaits in the quarterfinals, where he will face Thailand’s Weerapon Jongjoho on Sunday, October 1, at the Hangzhou Gymnasium.
Unfortunately, John Marvin did not share the same fortune as Marcial.
Just moments after Marcial’s triumphant victory, Marvin faced a setback in his men’s 92kg quarterfinal bout against South Korea’s Jeong Jae-min. Marvin was floored by an overhand right with a minute left in the first round. Despite his determination to continue, the referee halted the fight, marking the end of Marvin’s Asian Games journey.
With this development, eight of the 10 Filipino boxers competing in Hangzhou have been eliminated from the tournament.
Nesthy Petecio, the silver medalist from the Tokyo Games, faced disappointment as she absorbed a split decision loss to Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yu Ting in the women’s 57kg division. This loss added her name to the list of Filipino boxers who have exited the competition, including Aira Villegas, Mark Ashley Fajardo, Irish Magno, Aaron Jude Bado, Riza Pasuit, and Marjon Pianar.
Lin strategically utilized her height and reach advantage to control the bout, securing a 4-1 decision and securing her place in the quarterfinals of the women’s 57-kg class.
In a reminiscent showdown from two years ago, Petecio emerged victorious against the 5-foot-9 Chinese Taipei fighter, clinching a 3-2 victory in the Round of 16 at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It was an event where the fighter from Davao Del Sur went on to secure a well-deserved silver medal.
However, this time, victory eluded her.
Petecio, displaying humility in defeat, remarked, “Nag-unahan kami kung sino ang makakakuha ng saktong style. At naunahan niya talaga ako” (We vied to see who could adopt the exact style, and she really got ahead of me).
This loss marked a setback for Petecio’s aspiration to secure a return ticket to the Olympics, slated for Paris next year, as the Asian Games serves as a pivotal qualifier for the Olympiad. Now, she must gear up to compete in the World Championship with hopes of realizing her unfinished business in the Paris Games.
Undeterred, Petecio vowed, “Hindi pa tayo tapos” (We’re not finished yet).
Petecio’s exit also signified the conclusion of the women’s team campaign in the Asiad, placing the onus on the men’s team, now reduced to just three fighters, to carry the torch. They aim to secure Philippine boxing’s first gold medal since the 2010 edition of the quadrennial meet in Guangzhou, China.
Amidst these exits, the Philippines finds solace in the performances of Eumir Marcial and Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Carlo Paalam, who remain in contention. Their continued participation offers hope for the nation’s quest to secure boxing glory at the Asian Games.