By Dennis Principe
OLYMPIAN Eumir Felix Marcial quietly left the country alone Sunday morning with an excess baggage – that he will be preparing for the Tokyo Olympics without those who are supposed to be providing him necessary support.
Marcial, 24, took the first flight out of the country last weekend on his way to Los Angeles to hook up with trainer Freddie Roach who, with the help of noted American matchmaker Sean Gibbons, agreed to take the Zamboangueño boxer under the famed boxing guru’s wings.
“Gusto ko sana na makasama si (ABAP coaching consultant) coach Don (Abnett) sa training ko sa US kaya nag-request ako sa ABAP kung pwede ko siya makasama pati si (head) coach Ronald (Chavez). Sabi naman nila ‘sige tignan natin’. Two weeks, three weeks, wala pa desisyon kaya nagdesisyon na ako na mag-isa bumiyahe sa US,” said Marcial.
The middleweight campaigner Marcial, together with lady boxer Irish Magno, pole vaulter EJ Obiena and gymnast Carlos Yulo are the country’s current qualifiers for the Olympics set July 23-August 8, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
Marcial, despite turning pro last July, swears Olympics is his only priority until July of next year as it has been his childhood dream to see his father Eulalio cheer for him in an Olympic campaign.
While he acknowledges the abilities of Abnett as a boxing coach, Marcial would like to have the Australian as well as Chavez by his side also to show his utmost respect to the ABAP leadership.
“Siguro nga masama loob ng ABAP o kung ano man ang dahilan nila kaya sila ganiyan kasi nga nag-pro na ako. Pero since last year pa sinabihan ko na sila mag-pro na ako at gusto ko din naman sila ang kasama ko at tumulong sa akin kasi kahit pro na ako, Olympics pa din ang focus ko kasi nga pwede naman mag-Olympics kahit professional na ako,” said Marcial.
Marcial is hoping that his decision to proceed to the United States would finally jumpstart his aim to get in shape and be ready for next year’s Olympiad.
“Malapit na yung Olympics and until now, puro virtual training lang kami sa ABAP. Bilang respeto sa kanila, naghintay lang ako ng ano ba plano nila sa akin kasi nga, qualified na ako sa Olympics at isip ko, under pa din ako ng ABAP. Halos two months na ako nag-coodinate sa kanila pero parang wala pa din plano sa akin kaya nagdesisyon na ako na mag-training sa US,” said Marcial.
Marcial, who will be celebrating his 25th birthday (Oct. 29) in the US, feels he now is being abandoned by those who are supposed to be around him during his Olympic preparations.
“Iniisip ko din ngayon paano kung magka-issue sa budget ko dito sa US kasi kukunin ko si coach Freddie tapos susunod sa akin si (cousin) Anthony (Marcial) para maging assistant ko dito. Pero bahala na sa gastos kasi importante sa akin makapunta sa US at masimulan ko na ang training,” added Marcial.
Initially, Marcial planned to use whatever windfall he would get as an Olympic qualifier as his budget to defray the costs his US training would incur.
“Nag-gold ako sa Asian qualifier, Olympian na ako ngayon pero wala talaga ako nakuha kahit singko sa panalo ko na yun. Pero sabi ko nga, lahat yan, motivation ko yan para lalo ako magpursige na makuha ko ang unang Olympic gold ng Pilipinas,” said the southpaw Marcial.
Marcial though is thankful to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), specifically chairman William Ramirez, Commissioner Ramon Fernandez and the agency’s NSA affairs for assisting him in his documentary requirements before leaving for the US.
While he initially feels it is going to be a lonely Olympic battle for him, Marcial eventually believes those around him at the moment would be enough to keep his eyes on the Olympic prize.
“Madami mga Pilipino, karamihan hindi ko kilala, lumalapit sa akin nagsasabi na tiwala sila makukuha ko yung Olympic gold. Pamilya ko nandiyan pa din. Fiancée ko si Princess na boxer din. Si Senator Manny Pacquiao syempre, idol ng lahat, nandiyan na din para maging inspirasyon ko bilang promoter ko sa professional,” said Marcial.
Marcial is also getting some motivation from other nations, notably Covid-19 hit India and Thailand, two nations that already started their Olympic preparations since two months ago.
Despite the seven million COVID-19 cases in their country, India currently has nine male boxers and a few more lady boxers inside the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala, the fourth largest city in that state.
India’s training camp started early August and is looking to add nine more male boxers in the coming days.
Thailand, which has four boxing Olympians, resumed their training camp since late June at their National Training Centre.