(2nd UPDATE) Filipino boxer Eumir Felix Marcial made a statement in his Olympic debut, as he overpowered Algeria's Younes Nemouchi in their round-of-16 bout in the men's middleweight division.
Marcial, tapped as a potential medal contender in the Tokyo Olympics, was the last member of the Philippine boxing team to make his debut at the Kokugikan Arena.
It was a swift victory for Marcial, who set the tone with a blazing start and registered a knockdown of Nemouchi a minute into the fight through a combination. Marcial's pinpoint punching -- and an accidental headbutt -- opened up a cut above the Algerian's right eye, forcing the referee to stop the fight with a minute and 10 seconds to go.
The ringside doctor allowed Nemouchi to continue, but the referee called for time again with 19 seconds to go as blood continued to flow from the cut. This time around, the ringside doctor did not let the Algerian fighter push through.
Marcial won the bout via RSC (referee stopped contest). Official time was 2:41 in the very first round.
"Medyo okay naman, comfortable naman ako sa unang ano ko sa ring. Pero mas pagbubutihin ko pa sa susunod ko na laban," Marcial told Paolo del Rosario of Cignal TV after his swift victory.
He admitted that he would have wanted for the fight to last a bit longer, as Marcial had waited for a while before plunging into action at the Olympics.
"Noong nakita ko na cut na siya medyo nag-relax ako ng kaunti kasi gusto ko pa mag-second round. Pero ayun dahil sa accident na nangyari, na-stop na talaga ng doktor," he explained.
The heavy-handed Filipino is seeded third in the division and drew a bye right into the round-of-16. He will now move on to face Arman Darchinyan of Armenia in the quarterfinals, where a victory will assure Marcial of at least a bronze medal.
Already through to the semifinals is Filipina featherweight Nesthy Petecio, who dominated Colombia's Yeni Marcela Arias Castaneda Wednesday to assure the Philippines of a second medal in the Tokyo Games.
Still set to compete are Irish Magno and Carlo Paalam.