THE most awaited pro debut of Tokyo Olympic boxing qualifier Eumir Felix Marcial will happen sooner than expected.
MP Promotions, who handle Marcial’s professional career, managed to arrange the debut fight of the Zamboanga City pride against power-punching Andrew Whitfield (3-1, 2 KOs), from Lewiston, Idaho, in a four-round middleweight bout.
The fight, part of a Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) event, will take place Wednesday, Dec. 16 (Dec. 17, Manila time) and will be televised live from LA Live’s Microsoft Theater on FS1.
Marcial, who is signed with PBC and Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao’s MP Promotions, is following in Pacman’s footsteps by training with boxing Hall-of-Famer Freddie Roach at his Hollywood-based Wild Card Boxing Club.
Wild Card is where the boxer laureate and eight-division world champion Pacquiao trained for his greatest in-ring performances. In as much as professional fighters are now allowed to compete in the Olympics, Wild Card is serving as a “one-stop shop” for Marcial’s preparations for professional and Olympic glory.
“Turning professional is an important step in my journey to the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. A lot of the fighters I may face in the Olympics have already turned pro so my professional training with Freddie will keep me at their level of experience when we battle in the Olympics,” Marcial said.
“But my ultimate goal has always been to make my Dad’s dream a reality, a dream he has had since my first amateur fight, to win an Olympic gold medal. That is the prize I have in my eyes. I want to be the first to bring Olympic gold back to Philippines.
“When I enter the ring for my pro debut I will not be alone. I am grateful for the support from a lot of people, including MP Promotions President Sean Gibbons and Senator Manny Pacquiao for having their faith in my ability and signing me, and allowing me to follow in the footsteps of Manny, an idol of mine for as long as I can remember. Like Manny, I have been blessed to travel to Hollywood and train under the guidance of a great teacher in Freddie Roach. I know what Manny and Freddie have accomplished together. I think of that every day and wake up inspired to do better than the day before. It is hard work but is has been good work.
“I also want to thank everyone who has helped me get to this point in my career. I am indebted to so many, including the Philippine Air Force, all my coaches on the Philippines Boxing team, Coach Ronald Chavez and Don Abnett, and Philippines Sports Commission Chairman William Ramirez. I would also like to express my gratitude to the Association of Boxing Alliances, including President Ricky Vargas and Secretary General Ed Picson.”
“On behalf of MP Promotions and Filipinos in our country and around the world, I’d like to say how proud we are of Eumir,” Manny Pacquiao said.
“I still remember how excited I was to begin my journey with Freddie and I know they will make a remarkable team. This isn’t just a debut for a professional boxing career, it is the beginning of a historic quest. God bless Eumir Marcial.”
“I am very excited to see Eumir turn professional because it is an important step in gaining valuable experience for his Olympics campaign. It’s essential preparation to compete at the highest level for the 2021 summer games in Tokyo,” said Sean Gibbons, President of MP Promotions.
“If all goes well, Eumir will have one or two more pro fights to continue his preparation for next year’s Olympics. I would also like to join Eumir in thanking the Philippines Sports Commission and its chairman William Ramirez for their support, as well Ricky Vargas and Ed Picson, the respective President and Secretary General of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines, and Dennis Principe for his help and guidance.”
Before the pandemic shut the world down, Marcial had been on a roll. He punched his ticket for the 2021 Olympics in March by winning all four of his bouts in the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying tournament in Amman, Jordan. Marcial was the top seed in his division. Last December, he captured the gold at the 30th Southeast Asian Games as well as the silver medal in last year’s World Boxing Championships. His illustrious résumé also includes being a three-time SEA games champion.