• Marcial gears up for big tournaments

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    Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Eumir Felix Marcial is gearing up for two big international competitions this year – the 29th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia on August 19 to 31 and the World Championship in Hamburg, Germany on August 25 to September 3.

    “I’m preparing now here in Baguio and I’m confident of coming back this year,” the 2015 Singapore SEA Games gold winner told The Manila Times during a phone interview on Sunday. “Last year, I didn’t qualify [in the Olympics]. I guess this year is a great opportunity.”

    “I’m very much willing to do my best in SEA Games in Malaysia this year or possibly in the world championship, but I still don’t know where I will compete there,” he added. “It is up to our coaches to decide. All I can do right now is to train hard and seriously.”

    The former flyweight junior world championship gold medalist is expecting to compete in the welterweight class or possibly move up to the middleweight division.

    “I’m getting bigger this year but still competitive in both welterweight and middleweight class. Although I expect there are other good boxers in those weight classes who are very much competitive, I’m confident I can fight there and prove my worth,” said the 2015 Best Asia Youth Boxer of the Year.

    Marcial, a Zamboanga City pride, lost to a Mongolian opponent via unanimous decision in the 2016 International Boxing Association (AIBA) Olympic Boxing Qualifying tournament Asia/Oceania in China that cost his Olympic dream.

    The boxing association has decided to divide the national pool in both international tournaments, but they haven’t decided yet whose boxers are in.

    Besides Marcial, Rio Olympian Rogen Ladon (light flyweight) and Mario Fernandez (bantamweight), among others, are also expected to lead the charge of Filipino boxers in the SEA Games and world championship tourney.

    JOSEF T. RAMOS

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