MANILA, Philippines -- Eumir Marcial remains very much welcome to train with the Philippine national team even if he turns professional, assured the officials of the country's boxing federation.
Marcial is one of two Filipino boxers, along with Irish Magno, who are already qualified for next year's Tokyo Olympics. However, the 24-year-old is also leaning towards a professional boxing career, even as he remains committed to representing the country in 2021.
Ricky Vargas, the president of the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP), said Marcial has their full support and that the boxer can still train with the rest of the national team boxers if he wants to.
"Ang request ni Eumir, noong last time na nakausap ko siya -- 'di ko alam kung nag-iba na -- he wants to train with the current coaching staff that is helping him, kasama na rin 'yung foreign coach natin," Vargas said during Tuesday's Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.
"We're open to giving him that training," he said.
"If he's going to train with the ABAP coaches, he's most welcome, of course," added ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson.
However, both Picson and Vargas want to make sure that there will be no conflict should Marcial continue training with the amateur boxers, which is why they first want to see the details of the contract he will sign with his professional promoter.
"We don't know the terms of his contract talaga, and as far as I know, 'di pa naman siya pumipirma, or 'di pa sila nagkakaroon ng definitive decision on both sides," said Picson.
"So we will await kung ano man ang mangyari sa kanilang negotiations, because we don't know anything about that," he added.
Marcial was initially linked to famed boxing manager Shelly Finkel, who manages the career of American heavyweight Deontay Wilder, among others. More recently, however, Marcial expressed his desire to sign with MP Promotions instead, trusting that Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao can guide him as a professional.
Vargas also made clear that there were plans to send Marcial abroad for training ahead of the Olympics, but those plans were scrapped because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"We had arrangements before, but now we can't because of the restrictions," he explained. "For that matter, si Irish, we want to get her to train and for all our Olympic hopefuls."
Marcial has said in a previous interview that when he turns professional, he hopes to train in the United States, as there are no sparring partners for him in the Philippines.
"Siguro, the best training ay dapat po para sa amin ay sa US po," Marcial said during an appearance on "The Hitlist" podcast. "Kasi po, wala po akong ka-sparring dito eh. Wala pong mga kahit sa pro boxing, wala pong kilala na middleweight."
"So ayun, I think 'yung best po, makapag-training ako kapag mag-start ako ng pro is sa US, para may mga sparring partners po ako doon."
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).