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‘We have a lot of work to do’

Eumir Felix Marcial and Freddie Roach
Marcial gets instructions from Roach during a break in training on Thursday.

Top Olympic bet Eumir Felix Marcial has started his training at the famed Wild Card Gym Thursday afternoon in Hollywood, California undeer the watchful eyes of the great Freddie Roach.

Marcial was welcomed by Roach ,who agreed to take the 24-year-old Zamboanga-native boxer under his wings while the Filipino boxer prepares himself for next year’s Olympic Games in Japan.

Marcial did four rounds of mitts with Roach who sees a lot of potentials on the Filipino Olympian.

Since 2001, Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club has been the training camp for eight-division world champion and Philippine senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao.

On Wednesday, Marcial, a member of the 2021 Philippines Olympic boxing team and part of Pacquiao’s MP Promotions’ stable of fighters, entered through the same door to meet with the seven-time Trainer of the Year.

“When Eumir walked through the door into the upstairs gym, I flashed back to 2001 when Manny (Pacquiao) first walked through the same door looking for someone to do mitts with him,” said Roach.

“I felt like I was walking in Manny’s footsteps when Freddie was giving me the tour of the original part of Wild Card and telling me stories about training with Manny. To see the Philippines flag so prominently displayed made me very proud. And working out with Freddie was a great learning experience. I cannot wait to return for our next session,” said Marcial.

After giving Marcial and MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons a quick tour of the top floor of Wild Card, they adjourned to the more private downstairs gym for a workout.

“Eumir has a lot of power and talent but we have a lot of work to do. It’s a very unusual situation working on a fighter’s professional debut knowing that we will be preparing for the Olympics after he turns professional. I really hope we can be the first to bring a world title and Olympic gold to the Philippines. That would be very special,” said Roach.

Before the pandemic shut the world down, Marcial had been on a roll. He punched his ticket for the 2021 Olympics in March by winning all four of his bouts in the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying tournament in Amman, Jordan.

Marcial was the top seed in his division.

Last December, he captured the gold at the 30th Southeast Asian Games as well as the silver medal in last year’s World Boxing Championships.

Marcial’s illustrious résumé also includes being a three-time SEA Games champion.