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‘Eumir-rific’ punch catapults Marcial to Asiad boxing gold medal duel

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HANGZHOU – Eumir Marcial hit two birds with one stone in the 19th Asian Games on Wednesday.

The Filipino southpaw made it to the gold medal round of the men’s 80kg class after demolishing Ahmad Ghousoon of Syria and earned an outright berth in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Marcial, the bronze medalist in the Tokyo Games, dominated Ghousoon in their semifinal bout at the Hangzhou gymnasium, twice decking the Syrian in the second round, including a left jab that set him up for a smashing right hook that served as the coup de grace in the rousing victory.

The official time was 1:49 of the second round.

When everything was over, Marcial went to his corner and cried on the shoulders of coaches Ronald Chavez and Don Abnett as reality quickly set in that he was bound for another shot at the Olympics.

Boxing is among the few sports in this edition of the continental meet that serves as a qualifier for next year’s Paris Olympiad.

“Sabi ko baka hindi na para sa akin itong Olympics,” said an emotional Marcial, who initially doubted he’d be able to compete in the Olympiad again after his weight class of 75 kg had been scrapped in the Paris Games.

But upon the prodding of his family including his wife Princess, Marcial gave it one more shot, moved up in weight, and briefly set aside his pro boxing career for the Asiad.

“Sabi niya (Princess), ‘kaya mo yan, kung may pagkakataon ka gawin mo,” Marcial recalled his conversation with his wife.

Now, he’s just a win away from winning that gold.

“That’s Eumir, he’s very focused and dedicated and he has trained well not only for the Asian Games but also for his Olympic qualification,” said Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino, one of the many people Marcial thanked in his quest for another Olympic stint, along with ABAP (Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines) chairman Ricky Vargas, and boxing legend and promoter Manny Pacquiao,

Marcial vies for Philippine boxing’s first Asiad gold since 2010 as he faces Tanglatihan Tuohetaerbieke of China, a 4-1 win over Turabek Khabibullaev of Uzbekistan in the other semifinal bout.

The gold medal round is set for Thursday at 8:45 p.m.

 

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