MANILA, Philippines -- MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons believes he has another world champion in the making after signing Olympic-bound Filipino boxer Eumir Felix Marcial to a six-year contract.
The 24-year-old Marcial decided to turn professional ahead of the Tokyo Games, although he made it clear that his primary focus is still bringing home the gold medal from the Olympics.
Speaking at the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday, Gibbons said the remainder of the year and the early part of 2021 will be dedicated to preparing Marcial for the Summer Games.
"We all know, as we said early on, for the next year, it's the Olympics. That's where it's at," said Gibbons.
Gibbons plans for Marcial to fight three professional matches ahead of the Tokyo Games, and for him to hold training camps in Los Angeles where he can spar with boxers at his weight division.
The promoter expects Marcial to win the gold medal in Tokyo, after which he believes the young Filipino can then become a world champion in the professional ranks.
"With Eumir's experience, if you look at history he's been fighting for 9 years. He's been fighting the best of the best of all the countries," Gibbons said. "He could be a little more of a fast-track."
"By the third year, I think he'll be able to challenge somewhere for a title. I think he's that good," he added. "He's got the experience. The man's fought so many fights and top fights around the world."
This, of course, depends on how quickly Marcial adjusts to the professional game. Gibbons noted that different fighters progress at different paces, although he is confident that Marcial will be quick to make an impact.
"Certain guys over the years, they develop as learning as the professional game. Most guys, it's somewhere between two or three years," he said. "There's two guys that Eumir fought in the amateurs that have gone pro already that are very close to fighting for a title after two years."
"So I see somewhere in the second to third year, he'll be ready to challenge for a title."
Among Gibbons' fighters at MP Promotions, Jerwin Ancajas (IBF world super flyweight title) and John Riel Casimero (WBO world bantamweight title) are currently world champions.
Although the expectations of him are sky-high, Marcial said he is not letting the pressure get to him.
"Alam ko naman, lahat ng mga expectation nila sa akin, mahirap," he said. "Kumbaga sa akin na lang, ginagawa ko na lang na motivation 'yung pressure, para lalo ako ganahan sa training at lalo ko pagsikapan pagdating ng laban ko."
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.