TOKYO - Filipino Eumir Marcial advanced to the quarter-finals of the Tokyo Games middleweight boxing tournament on Thursday after an accidental headbutt opened up a gash above his opponent's eye and forced the referee to stop the bout.
The 25-year-old has drawn comparisons with his countryman, eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao, who was quick to offer his congratulations after the first-round stoppage against Algeria's Younes Nemouchi.
"Eumir Marcial is one win away from a medal!" Pacquiao tweeted.
Marcial said he was just grateful to be at the Tokyo Games after failing to qualify for Rio in 2016.
"I'm so thankful. I'll do my best performance in the next fight," he said. "After I didn't make the Rio Olympics I worked hard for this."
Marcial has been preparing under the tutelage of Pacquiao's Hall-of-Fame trainer Freddie Roach after turning professional last year.
Hailing from a boxing family - his father trained him from the age of seven - Marcial has said he was especially driven to succeed after his oldest brother, who funded his schooling through difficult times, died suddenly last October.
His brother Eliver left behind six children, whom Marcial hopes to help support through his boxing career.
The Filipino will fight Armenia's Arman Darchinyan, who has also trained under Roach, in the quarter-finals on Sunday.
In the women's flyweight preliminaries, Turkey's gold-medal favourite Buse Naz Cakiroglu advanced, coming back strong against Uzbekistan's Tursunoy Rakhimova to win by split decision.
(Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Peter Rutherford )
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