MANILA, Philippines -- After a bronze medal finish in the ASBC Asian Elite Men's and Women's Boxing Championships, Olympic-bound boxer Eumir Marcial is headed back to the United States to train.
This time, he will be working at the United States Olympic Boxing Training Center in Colorado Springs for the final phase of his preparations ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
Marcial settled for a bronze medal in the competition held in Dubai, his first amateur tournament since the Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifiers in March 2020. He previously made his professional boxing debut in December 2020, outpointing American Andrew Whitfield.
Uzbekistan's Saidjamshid Jafarov shut out Marcial in the semifinals, 5-0. It was Marcial's lone bout of the competition, having qualified to the semis by default.
Ricky Vargas, president of the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP), said the loss should be a wake-up call for all involved.
"We are of course saddened by the loss of Eumir Marcial, but that’s boxing. Adjustments will have to be made and there is some time left," Vargas said in a statement.
"That said, I think this should be a wake up call for all concerned, not just to Marcial," he added.
Vargas is hopeful that Marcial can maximize his time with USA Boxing, especially as the boxer has been unable to join the Philippine team in their camp in Thailand.
"We are happy that Marcial participated in this tournament under the aegis of ABAP and has committed to train under our coaches’ mentorship in this crucial period. This will address the kind of challenge he will face in Tokyo," said Vargas.
"We have arranged for Marcial to participate in a multi-nation training camp in Colorado Springs, the home of Olympic boxing in the USA. This is the milieu that he needs to be training under," he added.
USA Boxing's camp in Colorado Springs will feature its six Olympic qualifiers as well as several other countries. ABAP is looking for a way to send the three other Filipino Olympians -- Nesthy Petecio, Irish Magno, and Carlo Paalam -- to the camp as well.
According to Vargas, USA Boxing is already assisting ABAP in getting visas for them as well as the coaches of the Philippine national team.
"Our coaching staff, under coach Donald Abnett, has drawn up a comprehensive 10-week program for the final push to the Olympics, attuned to the environment and platform in which the event will be staged," Vargas also said.
While most of the attention has been on Marcial, Vargas stressed that Petecio, Magno and Paalam "have equal chances to perform well in Tokyo."
"After all is said and done, the journey to the Olympics should be a national effort. ABAP, as the national sports association for the sport, stands ready to support, nurture and guide our athletes in pursuing the dream, as we did in their long and arduous effort to qualify," he said.
"We enjoin everyone concerned to rally behind this unified effort to get them to the Tokyo Olympic podium," he added. "There is no other way."
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