Asian Games: Entering quarterfinals, Eumir Marcial has concerns over foe he once dominated
HANGZHOU, CHINA—Prized pug Eumir Marcial sets out on a clear mission on his farewell Olympic bid with the path toward that goal anything but easy.
As Marcial goes deeper into his 19th Asian Games (Asiad) campaign where success means an automatic qualification next year for the Paris Olympics, the veteran knows that the road to the glitzy fashion capital for the summer Games will get bumpier.
The Tokyo Olympics middleweight bronze medalist, forced to fight in a heavier weight at 80 kilograms here, has to get Vietnam’s Nguyen Manh Cuong out of the way in their quarterfinals duel on Tuesday at Hangzhou Gymnasium.
“I beat him in the SEA (Southeast Asian) Games before, but I know anything can still happen, so I’ll make sure to prepare for him,’’ said Marcial, who opened his bid with a unanimous victory over Dalai Ganzorig of Mongolia.
Marcial can vividly remember how he knocked out Nguyen cold in their gold medal fight at 75 kg during the 30th Southeast Asian Games in Manila, so the prizefighter from Zamboanga City knows the Vietnamese has nothing but revenge in mind.
“My movements in my weight class now are okay. Although I am more comfortable in my fighting weight, which is middleweight, I am working hard because things will get tough from there,’’ said Marcial. “So far, I’m in good shape and don’t tire easily.’’
He was actually super cautious against Ganzorig on Sunday night, avoiding all kinds of dirty tricks that the rugged Mongolian fighter threw at him near the end of their match.
“I was careful because I know that this is just the start. I avoided injuries like head clashes because, as you know, when a southpaw and an orthodox fight, their heads always clash, so I tried to be very careful,’’ said Marcial.
The finalists in all boxing divisions of the Asiad will clinch Olympic berths to Paris outright, and Marcial has no intention of being left behind.
Surviving Nguyen will set him up against either Weerapon Jongjoho of Thailand or Japan’s Issei Aramoto.
“This is my last shot to qualify for the Olympics. If I don’t make it [outright from]here, I will just focus on fighting in the pros,’’ said Marcial, who is so far unbeaten in four pro fights.
There are still two qualification meets for Paris after the Asiad, but these tournaments should become more difficult since boxers from all over the planet will converge to earn a coveted Olympic spot. INQ