MANILA, Philippines -- Olympic-bound Filipino boxer Eumir Felix Marcial expects to fight as a professional for the first time this month.
Marcial, who signed a six-year deal with Manny Pacquiao's MP Promotions in July, has been training in Los Angeles since October to prepare for his campaign in the Tokyo Olympics next year.
A four-round bout against a yet to be determined opponent later this month will be another step in his journey towards the Summer Games, which were postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We haven't really set a date for the professional fight, but we're hoping it will be in December," said MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons when he and Marcial graced the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday morning.
"There's two dates out there, and we're not sure yet, we're kinda throwing them around. All I know is, we're gonna get in the ring, hopefully in December is the idea," he added.
Gibbons hopes to have Marcial fight either on December 16 or 26, possibly in a Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) fight card.
Marcial guarantees that if and when the fight date is finalized, he will be ready.
"Sobrang ready na po tayo. Kahit this week, kung inano na 'yung laban, lalaban po ako. Kasi talagang grabe ang training namin dito. So, reding-ready po," said Marcial, who added that he is willing to take on any fighter that Gibbons puts in front of him.
"As a fighter, siyempre dapat ready tayo sa kung ano mang laban na ibibigay sa atin," he said.
The initial plan was for Marcial to make his professional debut in October and fight as a pro at least three times before competing in the Olympic Games. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Gibbons to adjust those plans, especially as Marcial only left for the United States late in September.
"He hasn't really been able to do a lot for seven, eight months during the lockdown there," Gibbons said of Marcial. "(But) I have to stress, I'm more concerned (with) looking forward to the 2021 Olympics, Tokyo."
"We can squeeze one (pro fight) in December, then get another one or two, it will be great. But I really didn't put a lot of pressure, or focus on him on that," he added.
Rather, Gibbons said it's crucial for Marcial to keep learning under the tutelage of legendary boxing coach Freddie Roach as well as trainers Marvin Somodio and Justine Fortune, who have all been working with him at the Wild Card Gym.
In Los Angeles, Marcial also has plenty of chances to spar with fighters of the same size and weight -- something he rarely had in the Philippines. Gibbons said the 25-year-old pugilist already has at least 13 sparring sessions under his belt, including 10 rounds with middleweight contender Gabriel Rosado.
"It wasn't always the big plan to really focus on a professional fight," Gibbons explained.
"We are still trying to squeeze something in December… If it comes together, great. If not, you know, it's not the end of the world," he added. "Again, July (the Tokyo Olympics) is the real focus. That's where I wanna get to."