Vargas confident of Marcial’s Olympic bid

Published February 21, 2021, 5:37 PM

by Waylon Galvez

Eumir Felix Marcial in red (MB File Photo)

Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) President Ricky Vargas has no doubt of boxer Eumir Marcial’s capabilities to win a medal in this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Truth is, Marcial is the country’s brightest hope.

“He’s our biggest chance to win,” said Vargas as he and ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson guested on the weekly sports show The Chasedown last Saturday on One PH over Cignal TV.

The country has yet to win an Olympic gold medal, and boxing twice came up short of winning it when Anthony Villanueva (1964 Tokyo Olympics) and Onyok Velasco (1996 Atlanta Olympics) settled with silver medals.

But with Marcial, Vargas said all it needs is a good strategy between the boxer and the national team coaches.

Marcial is currently training in Los Angeles in the US with Hall of Fame coach Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym after the former signed with MP Promotions of Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao when he decided to turn professional last year.

The 25-year-old Marcial won his first pro fight last December 16 when he scored a unanimous victory against American Andrew Whitfield at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California.

ricky vargas ed picson
ABAP president Ricky Vargas and secretary-general Ed Picson (PSA Photos)

Picson said that when he spoke to Marcial last week, he was informed that the second fight next month is not likely to happen, the reason why there is a good chance for the former to join his teammates with the national team in training camp next month in Thailand.

“Eumir wants to join the training camp, we assured him that we will fly him from Los Angeles all the way to Thailand,” said Vargas, adding that Marcial needs to get clearance from the MP Promotions management.

“We still have time to correct [his style from amateur and pro]. Alam niyo naman ang training sa pro, iba sa amateur (You know that the training in amateur is different in pro). Both experiences (in pro and amateur) will do wonders for him.”

“Pinakita sa kanya (coaches) kung ano kailangan niyang  gawin, kailangang improvement, depensa and his boxing style (His coaches showed him what needs to be done and what to improve, also with his defense and boxing style),” added Vargas, who sees Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Russia as possible opponents of Marcial for the gold medal in the Olympics.

Meanwhile, Vargas said that there is a strong possibility for Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalalm to join Marcial and Irish Magno in the boxing contingent to the Tokyo Games on July 23 to August 8.

Organizers of boxing’s world qualifiers in Paris to the Tokyo Olympics have cancelled the event although Picson said that in a meeting with international boxing officials, world rankings would be used to determine the remaining slots for all the weight groups for male and female.

Paalam fights in the flyweight 52kg men’s category, while Petecio competes in the featherweight 57kg division.