Tokyo Olympics-bound boxer Eumir Marcial has earned a bye as he moved to the quarterfinal at the start of the ASBC Elite Men and Women Boxing Championships Monday night, May 24 in Dubai.
The 25-year-old Marcial, the top seed among the 12 participants in the 75-kilogram middleweight division, will take on the winner of the preliminary round bout between Iraq’s Ridha Talib Jabbar and Mongolia’s Otgonbaatar Byamba-Erdene.
The bouts will begin at 6 p.m. (10 p.m. Manila time).
Aside from Marcial, second seed Seyedshahin Mousavi of Iran, third seed Ashish Kumar of India and fourth seed Omurbek Murbek Bekzhigit Uulu of Kyrgyzstan have also earned a bye in the prelims.
Marcial is using this event as part of his preparation for the Tokyo Olympics scheduled July 23 to August 8. He earned a spot in the Games early last year via the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Amman, Jordan.
He is the only Tokyo Olympics-bound boxer of the national team in the ASBC after the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP) opted not to send the other three Olympians in Nesthy Petecio, Irish Magno and Carlo Paalam in Dubai due to quarantine reasons under the COVOD-19 protocols.
Nevertheless, the leadership of ABAP will pin its hopes not only on Marcial in the ASBC but seven others who are preparing for this year’s Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
These are Mark Lester Durens (49kg), Marvin Tabamo (52kg), Junmilardo Ogayre (56kg), Jere Samuel Dela Cruz (60kg) and John Paul Panuayan (64kg) in the men’s division, as well as Josie Gabuco (48kg) and Maricel Dela Torre (60kg) in the women’s side.
Tabamo will open things up for the Philippine Team as he takes on Ramish of Afghanistan in their flyweight bout, followed by Dela Cruz as he tackles Sri Lanka’s Jeewantha Wimukthi Kumara in the lightweight division, and Panuayan meets Majid Alnaqbi of the United Arab Emirates in the light welterweight class.
ABAP Secretary-General Ed Picson said that this event would provide Marcial the type of amateur style boxing after he trained for two months when he got to the US in October for his first professional fight last December.
“It’s Olympic style boxing so of course it’s good prep for him,” said Picson.
Marcial turned pro when he signed a contract with the MP Promotions of boxing legend and Senator Manny Pacquiao. He recorded a unanimous decision win against American Andrew Whitfield at the Microsoft Theater in L.A. in his pro debut last Dec. 16.
As for the other boxers, Picson said the ASBC is important for their SEAG preparation, saying: “It’s the exposure of boxers who have not had competition experience for over a year.”
Aside from the boxers, also in Dubai are ABAP coaches and officials, which include men’s coaches Roel Velasco, Joegin Ladon and Marcus Jarwin Manalo, and women’s coaches Mitchel Martinez and Ludy Therese Ceriales.