The Philippines will have to be content with two boxers in the Rio Olympics as the last hope for another athlete in boxing, Eumir Felix Marcial, bowed to Abbas Baraou of Germany in the AIBA World Olympic Qualifying Event at the Sardachi Oklympic Stadium in Baku, Azerbaijan.
It was a split decision as the judges from Algeria and Azerbaijan gave the German rounds one and three (28-29) while the Iranian judge awarded rounds one and two to Marcial (29-28).
Marcial was lured into a slugfest which was exactly what coaches Nolito Velasco and Romeo Brin warned the 20 year old Zamboanga City native not to get into.
Baraou had previously knocked out his opponent from New Zealand on opening day and the coaches saw that his forte was fighting up close.
Seeded No. 1 in the welterweight division and ranked by AIBA as No. 5 in the world, the Filipino boxed well in the second round, attacking mostly from a distance. All three judges gave him that round.
But somehow in the third, he decided to fight toe to toe and exchange punches with Baraou.
Last Thursday, Ian Clark Bautista also lost in the first round of preliminaries to Jose Kelvin de la Nieve Linares of Spain, 28-29.
”Eumir claims he somehow lost his legs in the third. We were all shouting for him to keep his distance but he says he couldn’t. I don’t understand it,” Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines Executive Director Ed Picson.
“We’ll have to focus on Charly Suarez and Rogen Ladon who are hard at training at the Top Rank Gym in Las Vegas under Nonito Donaire Sr. and head coach Pat Gaspi”, Picson added.