Tokyo-bound Eumir Marcial packs more power, says ABAP coach

Published May 9, 2021, 1:52 PM

by Waylon Galvez

Tokyo Olympics-bound boxer Eumir Marcial (center) and national team coach Gerson Nietes (right) visit Valientes Boxing Gym owner Junie Navarro in Zamboanga City. (Photo from Gerson Nietes)

One of the things that Eumir Marcial was able to improve after his stint in the US is his punching power.

Gerson Nietes, a member of the national boxing team coaching staff, made this assessment on the development of the 25-year-old Marcial, who is competing in the Tokyo Olympics this year.

“Mas nadagdagan ang power niya, ito ang talagang napansin ko sa kanya (He has more power, that’s what I’ve noticed),” said Nietes when contacted Sunday, May 9, by the Manila Bulletin. “Dala yan kasi ng mas malalakas din ang ka-sparring niya sa US (That’s because his opponents in sparring are strong in the US)”

“Medyo mas ma-kapal ang gloves sa amateur, pero nagagawa pa din niya na makapagpa-bagsak ng kalaban. May lakas naman noon pa ang suntok ni Eumir, pero mas lumakas pa lalo ngayon (Gloves in the amateur are a bit thick, but he’s been able to knockout opponents. He already has power even before, but his punches are more powerful now).”

Since he joined the coaching staff of the national team in 2014 after his years as an amateur athlete, Nietes has seen the progress of Marcial from being a prospect, up to the time he finally earned a spot in the Olympics through a qualifying tournament in Jordan.

Marcial decided to turn professional when he signed a deal with the MP Promotions of boxing legend and Senator Manny Pacquiao.

He arrived in the US last October 2020 and trained under Hall of Fame coach Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, California. In his first fight as a pro last December 16, he earned a unanimous decision victory against American Andrew Whitfield at the Microsoft Theater in L.A.

Marcial returned from the US last April 20, and has been training in his home province in Zamboanga City with Nietes, a cousin of boxing champion Donnie Nietes, at the Zamboanga Valientes Boxing Gym of Junie Navarro.

Marcial is preparing for the ASBC Asian Elite Men and Women Boxing Championships on May 23 to June 1 in Dubai, a tune-up meet prior to the Games in Japan. He is set to leave for Dubai on May 21.

Nietes said that that punching power of Marcial will benefit him in close toe-to-toe encounters, and the ASBC meet would be an important test on his readiness for the Tokyo Olympics where he hopes to get a podium finish.

“Sa style ni Eumir ang napansin ko nadagdagan pa, hindi nabawasan. Halimbawa noon hindi siya masyado marunong sa close fight, and laro niya is in-and-out. Pero ngayon marunong na siya sa mga dikit na laban (With his style, what I noticed is that he was able to add some more, not diminish. Example of that is he wasn’t as good in close fight, his game is in-and-out. But now he’s to fight at close range),” he said.

“Kaya medyo may advantage na siya kasi nga mas may power na siya. Talagang matibay na din ang katawan niya. Saka yung pag-ensayo niya for the pro fight, sa tingin ko naman madali para sa kanya na bumalik sa amateur style (That’s why it’s an advantage that he has more power now. His body also got stronger. Also, coming from his training as a pro, I think it’ll be easy for him to adjust to the amateur style).”

“Ilang months lang naman siya nag-training para sa pro fight, pero as an amateur simula bata pa lang alam na niya paano lumaban. Kaya tingin ko madali na yan para sa kanya na lumaro as an amateur (He only trained for a few months as a pro, but as an amateur fighter, he’s been fighting with that style since he was younger. So that’s going to be easy for him to play as an amateur),” added Nietes.

Aside from Marcial, the other Tokyo Olympic-bound boxers seeing action in the ASBC tournament are Irish Magno and Nesthy Petecio for the women’s division, and Carlo Paalam in the men’s category.