MANILA, Philippines -- Olympic-bound boxer Eumir Felix Marcial will likely fight three times as a professional before he competes at the Summer Games next year in Tokyo.
Sean Gibbons, the president of MP Promotions, said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday that the 24-year-old Marcial may make his professional debut in October.
"We hope to have about three fights. You have about nine months, a year before the Olympics," said Gibbons, whose promotional outfit signed Marcial to a six-year deal last week.
"I think you have to stop about three months before. So hopefully, we'll do something in October, and then we'll work from there. Hopefully about three fights before he has to stop and fully concentrate on the Olympics," he added.
Marcial is one of two Filipino boxers to have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics next year, after the heavy-handed puncher topped the middleweight division in the Asia and Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament in Jordan last month.
With his spot at the Olympics secured, Marcial decided to turn pro, believing it will only help him in his preparation for the Games. Despite being courted by promotional outfits abroad, Marcial decided to sign with MP Promotions of Filipino ring icon and senator Manny Pacquiao.
According to Gibbons, Marcial will fight in four- or six-round bouts, rather than full 12-rounders. The Filipino will compete in the middleweight division, which has a limit of 160 pounds. The middleweight limit in amateur boxing is 165 pounds.
"Again, we're trying to keep in line with what he's gonna be doing in Tokyo. Everything is here towards preparation for that. And that's why you start off with a four, six-rounder. Another four, six," he explained.
"You don't wanna take a guy and go too low when you're basically just preparing everything for Tokyo. So somewhere around where he's fighting as an amateur," Gibbons added.
Marcial, for his part, proclaimed his readiness to get to work.
"As a boxer, always po akong handa," said Marcial. "Excited na din ako na makapag-laban sa pro. Siyempre 'yun na nga, matuloy-tuloy po ang training ko, makasama po ang coaches ko. Hintayin ko lang po 'yung order ni Sir Sean, kung kailan ako pupunta sa US."
"Anytime po, ready naman ako," he added.
Gibbons intends for Marcial to train in Los Angeles, where he can work with several trainers and spar with top-level competition in preparation for both his professional career and the Olympics. He may even potentially link up with the legendary Freddie Roach, who helped Pacquiao reach the pinnacle of the boxing world in his prime.
Marcial's Olympic schedule begins on July 26, with the round-of-32 in the middleweight division.
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