MANILA, Philippines -- Olympic-bound Filipino boxer Eumir Felix Marcial is expected to join the Philippine team in their upcoming training camp in Thailand, the national boxing federation said.
Marcial has been in the United States since October 2020, months after turning professional. He has been training at the famed Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, and made his pro debut in December with a unanimous decision win over Andrew Whitfield.
Ricky Vargas, president of Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP), said that Marcial is planning to join the national boxing team in Thailand to ramp up his preparations for the Tokyo Olympics.
"We've assured him that we will fly him from Los Angeles all the way to Thailand. Just let us know, we'll provide you the ticket, we'll bring you there," Vargas said during an appearance on "The Chasedown."
"We explained to him also the kind of training program that we want him to undergo. Our coaches have seen his fights, his professional fights. They've also seen kung sino 'yung competition niya (sa Olympics)," he added.
"Pinag-aralan ng foreign coach natin 'yun, and pinakita sa kanya kung ano ang kailangan niya gawin, ano ang kailangan niyang i-improve, and ano ang kailangan niyang klaseng depensa, and ano ang kailangan niyang boxing style. So we explained that to him, and he is very eager to join us."
Members of the Philippine boxing team are currently at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna, for a training camp. They will fly to Thailand at the end of the month, for a six-week camp.
Expected to join the camp is Olympic-bound Irish Magno, as well as Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio, both of whom are also tipped to qualify for the Games in Japan through their world rankings.
The Filipino boxers were preparing for the final world qualifiers in Paris this June, but it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Ang Thailand ang nag-initiate," ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson said of the camp. "They've been very excited to have us there kasi 'yun nga ang problema, hindi rin sila makapunta kung saan nila gusto, because of travel restrictions."
"So we welcome the invitation of Thailand… Ang gusto nga ni Mr. Vargas, kahit sa Europe or sa Amerika, Cuba, kung saan pwede, kung saan tanggapin at saka kung saan hindi delikado, doon tayo," he added.
According to Picson, Marcial will fly straight to Bangkok instead of returning first to the Philippines.
However, the middleweight boxer will first get permission from his management before joining the team. Marcial signed a six-year deal with Manny Pacquiao's MP Promotions in July 2020.
"He has a responsibility, a contract. So sabi niya, hihingi daw siya ng permiso sa manager niya, kung pwede siyang pumunta," said Vargas.