TOKYO Olympics gold or nothing for boxing champion Eumir Felix Marcia.
In fact, Marcial is willing to take the long and difficult road to stardom.
“Yung Tokyo Olympics gold ang matagal na talaga nating pangarap. Wala nang iba,” said Marcial in a special appearance during the 20th “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom last Thursday.
“Simula pagka-bata ko hanggang maging member ako ng national team, yan na talagang Olympics ang priority ko. Sobrang excited na ako makalaban sa Olympics,” added Marcial during the weekly public service program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
Marcial, who is now deep in training under legendary Hall of Fame coach Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, said he is doing his best and sacrificing a lot to achieve the dream of winning the country’s first-ever Olympic gold.
Not even an untimely death in the family.
“Yun mas nakatatanda kong kapatid namatay pagdating ko pa lang dito sa US. Masakit man na hindi ko siya makita kahit na sa huling pagkakataon, pero mas pinili ko na ituloy ang pag-eensayo ko. Alam ko yun din ang gusto ng kapatid ko dahil pangarap din niyang mag world champion ako, mag Olympic gold medalist ako.”
Marcial admitted the long hours of training under Roach, strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune and former boxer Marvin Somodio are taking their toll.
But the 25-year-old pride and joy of Zamboanga City, who booked his ticket to Tokyo by topping the 2020 Asia/Oceania Olympic qualification tournament in Amman, Jordan last March 3-11, is not complaining.
“Sobra talaga ang sakit ng katawan ko sa training ko dito. Mahirap. Pag dating ko pa lang dito, halos mamatay-matay ako sa training nila. Pagkatapos, diretso tulog na,” recalled Marcial, who flew to the US only last month after signing a contract with the MP Promotions of Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Sean Gibbons.
Marcial, a silver medalist in the AIBA World Championship in Yekaterinburg, Russia in 2019 and three-time gold medalist in the Southeast Asian Games in 2015, 2017 and 2019, claimed pursuing a professional career remains secondary to the Olympics.
He said he continues to follow the training program given him national men’s boxing head coach Ronald Chavez thru the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP).
“Actually wala naman pagkaka-iba yun training ko dito kasi yun din naman ang goal ni coach Freddie at ibang mga kasama ko dito (MP Promotions). Yun matulungan tayo makuha ang Olympic gold,” explained Marcial, who also spends time running at the Griffith Park.
“Pwede nga nilang gawing eight rounds yun training ko, pero four rounds na lang muna dahil sa paghahanda sa Olympics. Kailangan aggresive agad. Sobra talagang laki ng tulong ng training camp ko dito.”
“Sa Olympics, hindi isang tao lang naman kailangan paghandaan.Madaming magagaling. Yun mga kalaban nga, gaya mga Russians, may mga tournaments na sila. Ibang labanan na talaga sa Olympics.”
Asked about his professional debut, Marcial said he was not formally informed yet by MP Promotions about his first opponent.
He claimed he is not sure if former middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs will be his first rival since he is currently No. 1 in the division.
“Wala pang tiyak na kalaban. Wala pa din naman sinasabi sa akin sa ngayon ang MP Promotions.”
Marcial is the second Tokyo Olympian to grace the weekly TOPS forum after fellow boxer Irish Magno.
Marcial, Magno, pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena and gymnast Caloy Yulo are the only four Filipinos who have booked a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics so far.