Eumir Marcial has grand Olympics debut–albeit an abbreviated one | Inquirer Sports
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Eumir Marcial has grand Olympics debut–albeit an abbreviated one

By: - Sports Editor / @ftjochoaINQ
/ 05:35 AM July 30, 2021
Boxing - Men's Middleweight - Last 16

Younes Nemouchi of Algeria and Eumir Marcial of the Philippines in action. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

TOKYO—Eumir Marcial did a few skips after speaking with a few members of the international press during a post-bout interview in the Tokyo Olympics men’s boxing competitions here.

The highly-rated middleweight finished his Games debut in less than one round and looked like he was shaking off a lot of leftover energy.

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“I wanted [the fight to last longer] that’s why I relaxed in the last couple of minutes,” Marcial said on Thursday at Kokugikan Arena.

Irish Magno, too, wanted her journey to last a little longer.

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But picked apart by a cat-quick and cocksure Thai fighter, Magno watched her golden dream vanish before determinedly vowing to continue chasing it.

“Until we win that gold, we won’t stop,” said the 30-year-old Magno, who was outclassed by Thailand’s Jutamas Jitpong later in the day.

Magno’s defeat to the boxer she beat in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games was the first loss suffered by the Filipinos in boxing competitions of the Games.

Petecio returns to the ring

Nesthy Petecio, who is assured of at least a bronze, and Carlo Paalam, who is gunning for a quarterfinal berth, will return to action on Saturday.

Juvic Pagunsan, meanwhile, kicked off his own campaign for a medal with a strong start. The Bacolod-bred ace shot a five-under-par 66 in the first round of men’s individual golf at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

The three-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist skipped the British Open to represent the country and, as if to validate that decision, rammed home six birdies against a lone bogey to stay three shots off Austria’s Sepp Straka, who grabbed the lead with a bogey-free 63.

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On a day the men’s field battered the course, only 13 players failed to score par or better, as Pagunsan sank three birdies against a bogey in the front nine before adding three more birdies coming home.

Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, a perennial Philippine visitor with Asian Tour stop stints, was second with a 64 going into Friday’s second round.

Marcial did not disappoint fans who were all abuzz with his newfound power. On Thursday, he gave Younes Nemouchi a taste of it.

Marcial shook his Algerian foe several times and could have inflicted even more damage had the fight not been stopped with 19 seconds left in the first round.

Officially, the fight was stopped because of a cut on Nemouchi’s forehead caused by a head butt.

“[A]ccidents happen. He got cut and the doctor said it was a big cut,” Marcial said.

But the referee wouldn’t have been faulted if he stopped the fight due to Marcial’s superiority.

The Filipino pro floored Nemouchi with 1:10 to go in the first round, connecting on a huge right hook that forced an eight-count on the Algerian, who for some reason opted to stand toe-to-toe with Marcial.

“I hit him with a right hook when he went down,” Marcial said in Filipino. “But he was really tough. I hit him several times with body shots but he never lost his fighting spirit. He was really going to slug it out.”

Marcial next faces Armenia’s Arman Darchinyan, who thoroughly dominated Andrej Csemez in their matchup earlier in the day for a unanimous decision victory.

Marcial had beaten Darchinyan in a tournament three years ago in Russia, but he said that result hardly matters now.

“This is the Olympics. Everyone prepared for this event,” he said.

Magno was slightly favored in her match if only for the fact that she had already beaten Jitpong within this Olympic cycle.

But she said her previous victory was worth squat on the ring.

“Everybody prepared hard because this is the Olympics,“ she said, adding that she had prepared hard for the Olympics and was “sad with the results.”

Jitpong was quicker to the draw in the first round, getting the nod of all five judges. Magno found her range in the second round, but the Thai was quick to counter each big shot with bursts of counterpunching that allowed her to pick up precious points.

In the end, Jitpong thus collected the second round and pushed Magno to a very tight situation.

Needing a very big reversal, Magno opted to fight at a distance, and her hesitation to step into the pocket to try and land big points doomed her bid.

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TAGS: Eumir Marcial, PH Tokyo 2020, Tokyo Olympics
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