Expect Olympian Eumir Felix Marcial to make the most of his pro debut against American Andrew Whitfield in a four-round battle Thursday morning (Manila time).
Manny Pacquiao (MP) Promotions president Sean Gibbons said this will give Marcial precious experience ahead of the Olympic Games since some of his potential opponents there are also turning professional.
"The real key is to focus on the Olympics but to get an experience to have a couple of four rounders, six rounders under his belt. Because all of the guys he is going to compete against (in the Olympics) are fighting in tournaments or turning pro," Gibbons said.
The Olympics has opened its doors to professional boxers, starting in the 2016 Rio Games.
Marcial qualified to the Tokyo Games after winning the gold medal during the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament last March in Amman, Jordan.
He has since been idle until he decided to sign up with MP Promotions, which immediately gave him a chance to train with Roach starting last October.
"Lahat ng ito, preparation para sa Olympics. Kahit na professional na itong laban ko, lahat ng kasama ko ngayon, si coach Freddie (Roach), coach Marvin (Somodio), coach Justin (Fortune), Sir Sean, ang nasa isip namin lahat Olympics," said Marcial.
During the weigh-in one day before the fight, Marcial registered 162.4 lbs, while Whitfield came in at 165.8 lbs. The contracted weight is 163 lbs.
Having to impress his boss, MP Promotions founder Manny Pacquiao, also boosts his motivation.
"Dagdag motivation din ito kasi sakto pa na birthday ni senator Manny diyan sa Pilipinas habang lumalaban ako dito. Ito na muna siguro ang magandang regalo ko kay senator habang nandito ako sa US," said Marcial, who traveled to the US last October to train under Freddie Roach.
Pacquiao will be turning 42 on Thursday, December 17.