Eumir Felix Marcial was on the verge of losing but survived three knockdowns to come back and score a technical knockout win against American foe Isiah Hart in the fourth and final round of their middleweight bout at Virgin Hotels' The Theatre in Las Vegas, Nevada Saturday night, April 9 (Sunday in Manila).
Marcial endured back-to-back knockdowns in the first and second rounds before finishing strong in the fourth, unleashing a desperate yet powerful combination that sent Hart wobbling to the ropes.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympian landed hefty counter left hooks but it was in the second punch where referee Raul Caiz Jr. intervened and halted the match at the 47-second mark as the unguarded Hart became an open target and caught all the blows.
Marcial, who hails from Zamboanga City, just added one KO on his flawless 2-0 record while the New Jersey native Hart, who seemed quite displeased with the stoppage, suffered two straight losses and fell to a 6-3-1 card with four KOs.
The 26-year-old Marcial recovered from an early slump after getting his rhythm back in the third frame, throwing continuous combinations and heavy hooks that forced Hart to keep his distance.
The national team member, despite being gassed out from the early knockdowns, capitalized on Hart's passiveness and caught him off guard multiple times in the corner.
But the second round could have spelled doom for the aggressive Filipino boxer as the New Jersey pugilist showed mastery in counterpunching, sending Marcial down the canvas first with a whopping right straight and second with a strong right uppercut.
Marcial's eagerness proved to be costly and backfired on him as Hart was leading in the scorecards with a 29-26 tally in the past three rounds.
Earlier in the first frame, the 30-year-old Hart showed poise and patience with yet another properly timed right straight to score the first knockdown of the night before the MP Promotions talent came alive in the next few rounds.
The Marcial-Hart bout served as one of the untelevised undercards in the 12-round interim WBC superwelterweight title fight between Erickson Lubin and Sebastian Fundora.