(UPDATED) Eumir Marcial absorbed a heartbreaking loss in the semifinal of the men's middleweight division, losing to top-seeded Ukrainian Oleksandr Khyzhniak via split decision, Thursday at the Kokugikan Arena.
Marcial will go home with a bronze medal, officially the Philippines' second boxing medal of the Tokyo Olympics after Nesthy Petecio's silver from women's featherweight.
In an all-out slugfest, Marcial went toe-to-toe with Khyzhniak and was ahead in two of the judges' scorecards after two rounds, while another scored in favor of the Ukrainian and the other two cards were tied.
But Marcial was outgunned in the final round. Though he still landed several clean shots, Khyzhniak was the busier fighter, and all judges gave the third round to the Ukrainian star.
Khyzhniak emerged as the winner via split decision, 3-2, in what was a very close fight.
Marcial was gracious after the loss, expressing his gratitude to have fulfilled his dream of competing in an Olympic Games.
"This is a very wonderful, very nice tournament, the decision is fair," he said.
"I won the bronze medal, so I'm so proud of myself. But if they give me a chance again and the opportunity to compete in another Olympics, I'll just grab the opportunity, and I'll work again, hard, to win the gold medal," he added.
The Ukrainian is a familiar opponent for Marcial. They faced off in the semifinals of the Strandja International tournament in February 2019, with Khyzhniak winning via the same 3-2 scoreline. A former world champion, Khyzhniak repeated the feat in the Olympics to march into the gold medal match.
Marcial, who turned pro last year, had made no secret of his desire to bring home the gold medal but will still have plenty to celebrate as his bronze is part of the Philippines' record haul in these Games.
The country also has a chance for another gold, as young flyweight Carlo Paalam advanced to the final of his division with a comprehensive win over Japan's Tanaka Ryomei.
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