After Day 11 in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, the 8-member Filipino boxing contingent is down to 3 men.
Rogen Ladon, Carlo Paalam and Eumir Felix Marcial reached the semifinals despite strong foreign competition.
Among the three, Marcial has the biggest chance of scoring a gold for the national boxing team, according to boxing analyst Dennis Principe.
“Right now I like the chances of Eumir Marcial, because among the middleweight contenders sa Asia, he's the most talented,” he said.
The veteran fight analyst described Marcial, a 2-time SEA Games gold medalist, as a combination of size and agility, which is rare in the 75-kilograms weight class.
“He's got the height, the heft, the body of the middleweight but he moves like a lightweight,” Principe said.
“Most middleweights today puro flat-footed. Sa professional boxing you have (Gennady) Golovkin, Canelo Alvarez, even the middleweights of the amateurs, mga flatfooted. Pero si Marcial merong ibang klaseng footwork, plus ’yung kanyang power at ’yung timing.”
Indeed, Marcial’s power is something his foes have to worry about as he has been hurting his opponents since the preliminaries.
In the last 16, Marcial knocked out a professional boxer in Ng Kuon Kun of Macao. The 2011 AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships gold medalist followed this up with another impressive win over South Korea’s Kim Jinjea in the quarterfinal round.
Marcial will take on Israil Madimov of Uzbekistan on Friday.
Meanwhile, Principe believes Ladon and Paalam will have to bank on mental strength and motivation to hurdle their semifinal assignments.
“Ladon is an Olympian and that says a lot about his ability. But when he fought in the Olympics, I was disappointed not by his performance but his mindset. I felt that psychology has something to do with this,” said Principe.
“With the arrival of Marcus Manalo, a young psychologist, to the national team, I think may positive effect kay Rogen Ladon. Because that fight against that Kazakhstan fighter is really tough, I really thought he was a heavy underdog in that fight. But he was able to overcome the challenge of his Kazakhstan opponent,” Principe added, referring to Ladon’s quarterfinal win over Azat Mahmetov.
Regarding Paalam, Principe is confident the coaching staff will prepare him with lots of motivation.
“When you’re at this stage of the competition and you know that your organization is being criticized early on, one of your top fighters being knockout brutally, may teammate na nadaya sa scoring, it will help Carlo to be motivated,” said Principe.
Ladon will take on Thailand's Yuttapong Tongdee in the men's flyweight semifinals, while Paalam goes up against India's Amit on Friday in the mens light flyweight.
All 3 bouts are on Friday.
The rest of the team—Irish Magno, James Palicte, Joel Bacho, Neshty Petecio and Mario Fernandez—all went out in their first fights in the Games that is now approaching the homestretch.
Fernandez and Petecio got the most painful of the losses after the former got knocked out by his Iranian foe, while the latter lost via a highly controversial decision.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)