MANILA, Philippines -- The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) is trying to "untangle" its situation with Olympic-bound boxer Eumir Marcial, who is still training in Los Angeles while the rest of the national team is in Thailand for a camp.
ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson on Tuesday lauded the progress of the national team -- which includes three more Olympians Nesthy Petecio, Irish Magno, and Carlo Paalam -- since their arrival in Thailand last month.
"We cannot ask for more from our athletes," said Picson during an appearance on the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.
Marcial, however, remains in Los Angeles where he has been training since October 2020. The heavy-handed boxer turned professional last year and made his debut in December, comfortably out-pointing American Andrew Whitfield.
According to Picson, Marcial would prefer to stay in the United States where he can spar with other boxers in his weight class.
"Ang sabi niya, kumpleto naman daw ang mga pangangailangan niya roon. And his big concern, really, is sparring partners. Doon daw, marami siyang sparring partners," he said.
Marcial's primary request is for an ABAP coach to aid him in his training. The federation is already preparing to send a coach to Los Angeles, but they are being hampered by visa issues.
The coach that they intend to send to the US has an expired visa, Picson said, and making an appointment with the US Embassy at this time is difficult due to the quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila.
"So, naantala 'yan," he said.
They still hope to convince Marcial to come instead to Thailand, where Picson assured he will have plenty of sparring partners.
"We were telling Eumir, there is no lack of sparring partners in Thailand. As a matter of fact, dalawa o tatlong katimbang niya ang nandoon, 75kg," he said. "Tapos meron ding dalawa o tatlong 81kg, 'yung katimbang ni John Marvin. Eh si John Marvin naman ang madalas niyang ka-spar dito sa atin."
"So we're trying to convince na sumama na sa team, 'di ba. This is the Olympic team, this is the Philippine team to the Olympics. Mas maganda sana kung kasama siya roon," he added.
Picson further stressed that with the national team, Marcial will receive training for the Olympics, and not for professional fights.
"Hindi ko alam kung anong klaseng training meron siya sa US, pero ang alam ko ang ka-spar niya doon, mga pro. Ang ka-spar niya dito, mga Olympians or would-be Olympians, at the very least. So ang estilo ng boxing is Olympic-style, not pro style. 'Yun ang concern namin eh," said Picson.
The federation remains in constant communication with Marcial and his management, led by Sean Gibbons of MP Promotions.
"We understand that he has commitments other than with ABAP," said Picson. "Nagkaroon kami ng meeting a couple of weeks ago with Sean Gibbons, 'yung kanyang promoter… We discussed it, and 'yun nga ang ano nila, na dapat daw sa US 'yung Olympic training ni Eumir."
"Kailangan niya ng coach. Pero 'yun, that has hit a snag because of the visa issue. So we're still trying to untangle that," he said.
Regardless of where he trains, Marcial intends to compete in the Asian Boxing Championships that will be held in New Delhi, India from May 21 to 31.
"Kailangan andoon siya. And he has indicated that he wants to participate. Whether he's coming from the US or from Thailand, sabi niya gusto kong sumali diyan. 'Yan ang sabi niya," said Picson.
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