MANILA, Philippines -- After two months in the United States where he is training with legendary trainer Freddie Roach, Filipino boxer Eumir Marcial is now catching up with his future opponents when it comes to his conditioning.
Marcial left for Los Angeles in late September and has since been working with Roach at the Wild Card Gym, as well as Filipino trainer Marvin Somodio, and strength and conditioning coach Justine Fortune. It's been a crucial stretch for the Olympic-bound boxer, as he was barely able to work out during the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic when he was in the Philippines.
"Kung nand'yan po ako sa Pilipinas, sa sitwasyon natin, ang hirap," Marcial said when he guested on the Philippines Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday morning.
"'Yung ibang bansa po, 'yung India, I think seven boxers, Indian boxers, all in Europe now for training," he revealed. "And 'yung European countries naman, nag-start na sila ng tournament. So lahat po 'yun is mga competitor ko sa Olympics, lahat po 'yun naghahanda for Olympics."
Marcial admits that had he stayed in the Philippines, he would fall behind his future foes in terms of conditioning. Sean Gibbons, the president of MP Promotions which signed Marcial to a professional contract in July, noted that the boxer had no gym to work out in and couldn't even go out to jog or run while he was in the country.
Moreover, in the Philippines, Marcial does not have sparring partners who can help him get ready for next year's Tokyo Olympics. In Los Angeles, he has an abundance of them.
"The key is really is the experience that everybody else has and was gaining more and more, and Eumir was kinda getting left behind in a sense," Gibbons noted. "He's too big… He's a 165-pounder. So he's not really able to get the work he needed in the gym, in the sparring."
Recently, Marcial worked out with middleweight contender Gabriel Rosado. He also got to work with professional prospects from Kazakhstan and Armenia, and Gibbons assured that he is sparring with "world-class fighters."
"So there's so many different styles and people you see and spar with every day, that you wouldn't get the chance if you were in the Philippines, working out," said Gibbons.
"He's been able to work with a lot of different fighters here, and the tutelage under Freddie Roach, and just the training overall," he also said.
The 25-year-old Marcial said he has learned plenty in the two months that he's spent in Los Angeles, and is looking forward to even more lessons in the coming months. He has proclaimed himself ready to make his professional debut, which may come within the month.
Moreover, Marcial is confident that he will be in top condition by the time the Tokyo Olympics roll around in July 2021.
"Sa akin ngayon, masasabi ko sa katawan ko, kundisyon ako eh, ready ako, payat na nga ako, I'm skinny na," said Marcial, who qualified to the Tokyo Games after ruling the Asia-Oceania qualifier in Jordan last March.
"Sa fighting weight ko sa Olympics, nasa 2.5 kilos na lang ako over. So, ano na lang, six pounds sa fighting weight ko sa Olympics," he added. "Kumbaga, name-maintain ko na hindi ako masyadong lumalaki, hindi ako masyadong lumolobo or bumabagal ba."
This gives Marcial all the confidence in the world, as he knows he's not falling behind the fighters that he may end up facing in Tokyo.
"Kung wala akong preparation, wala akong hinahandang laban, siguro baka siyempre mag-relax-relax muna tayo, habang 'yung mga kalaban natin, grabe na, puspusan na 'yung paghahanda at nagte-training na sa kanilang mga gym or sa kanilang mga lugar," he said.