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Olympics-bound Marcial in top shape for pro fight in Manila




MANILA, March 23 ------ Filipino boxer Eumir Marcial jumped straight to training as soon as he arrived in Manila last week. After two months of intensive training in Las Vegas, Marcial has continued his preparation at the Tagaytay Combat Sports Center. The Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist feels he is in excellent shape for his pro fight at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium vs Thailand's Thoedsak Sinam today.  

  

“Itong Thailand na fighter na to, meron 24 wins and 19 KOs so sobrang experienced siyang boksingero. So alam natin, maraming magagaling na boksingero na natalo ng ekspiriensadong boksingero. Hindi ako pwedeng magtiwala dahil ang laki ng experience niya sa boxing. gagawin ko yung best ko, kasama ko team ko, pinag-aralan talaga namin yung style niya, anong technique gagamitin natin, at mananalo tayo,” he said. 

  

Marcial believes he has improved every aspect of his game because of the intensive training in the United States. “Naramdaman ko yung suntok ko, 'di lang mabigat kundi yung diin. Last three sparring ko, pag tinatamaan ko yung opponent ko, ramdam nila agad yung suntok ko. Means na hindi lang nadevelop yung lakas, mas nagsharp pa talaga," he said. 

  

The variety of sparring partners he went against in Vegas was a big boost to his conditioning. "Ang dami kong ka-sparring dun - Cuban, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Black American, and iba-ibang style yung sparring, so talagang pinag-aralan namin lahat ng style. Focus sila sa kailangan idevelop sakin kasi maraming nagsasabi na malakas ako sumuntok. So tinuturo nila sa akin maging unpredictable," he said. "'Di ko hahanapin o susubukan yung KO, gagawin lang namin best namin and kung KO man darating lang yun,” he added.  

  

Fighting in front of Filipino fans next weekend is something that Marcial is extremely excited about, and he is eager to show the home crowd his best form. "Matagal  ko nang pangarap makalaban dito sa Pilipinas. Mapapanood ako ng pamilya ko, kaibigan ko, lahat na sumusuporta. Sobrang excited and grateful ako sa event na to and sa lahat ng sumusuporta sakin,” he said. 

  

After this pro fight in Manila, Eumir will move to go full blast to chase his Olympic Gold dream in Paris, four years after taking the bronze at the Tokyo Olympics. “Naniniwala ako na parati mong sinasabi 'magka-qualify ako, magpa-Paris ako.' Kahit before Asian Games, lagi nila sinasabi 'mago-Olympics ka.' Pag tinatanong sa akin, 'Yes, mago-Olympics ako.' Nangyari po. Nung nasa Asian Games na ako, goal ko is gold ako rito and mag-qualify ako. Ngayon always ko na sinasabi sa sarili ko na maggo-gold ako. Pero of course, kailangan tayo magtrain hard at guidance kay God,” he said. 

  

In Paris, Marcial will fight in the 80kg division -- five kilos up his usual weight class. It is a challenge that the boxer has already embraced, and Marcial has set his mind to working even harder in the following months. "Very disadvantaged talaga ako pagdating sa height, sa laki," he admitted. "Pero tinatanong ko always [ang] coach ko, ano advantage and plan natin. Sabi niya magbu-build ako ng muscle, pero hindi kailangan na lumaki ako kasi natural may power na ako. So kailangan kong pag-aralan yung speed, tactics kung paano ko sila talunin," he said.  

  

Marcial makes special mention of his wife Princess who has been tremendous in taking care of everything outside the ring so he can focus solely on his boxing. “Need ko talaga yung asawa ko ngayon. Lahat, yung preparation na 'to, siguro magiging magulo yung event na 'to kung wala yung wife ko. 'Pero di lang about dun inaayos iniya, about din sa akin. 'Yung preparation ng food ko, conditioning ko, then iniisip pa niya yung event, yung media,” he said. 

  

Marcial enjoys the positive vibes in training, and the boxer is getting more confidence from the support of the people around him. “Iba rin yung saya, ito yung nagbibigay sakin ng energy, yung team ko. Ang saya na marami kayo. Kahit pagod ka na, ganado pa rin. Gusto ko ipakita na malakas pa rin ako," he said. 

  

Ahead of his bout, Marcial expressed his gratitude to Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino, who helped ensure that he had everything he needed. Marcial is one of six Filipino athletes already assured of tickets to the Paris Olympics, along with fellow boxers Aira Villegas and Nesthy Petecio, pole vaulter EJ Obiena and gymnasts Carlos Yulo and Aleah Finnegan. 

  

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