Eumir Marcial punches ticket to Paris Olympics, Asian Games boxing final
HANGZHOU, China—On to the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Eumir Marcial drowned in euphoria after knocking out Syria’s Ahmad Ghousoon cold on Wednesday at the 19th Asian Games to carve his own path back to the Olympics.
The pride of Zamboanga City unloaded a rock-like right hook halfway through the second round, hitting its target squarely on the jaw and flooring the Syrian for good in a semifinal victory that assured Marcial a trip to the finals of the men’s 80kg division.
“I’ve already lost hope and just told myself to just continue fighting professionally after my division was removed from the Olympics,” said Marcial in Filipino.
He was forced to move up and abandon his normal fighting weight of 75kg where Marcial captured a bronze medal in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and proved that it was worth it.
“I thought the Olympics wasn’t for me anymore, but people continue to believe in me, telling me to forge ahead, especially my wife,” added the four-time Southeast Asian Games champion and Asian championships silver medalist.
He’s bound to face China’s Tanglatihan Touhetaerbieke in the gold-medal brawl after the latter defeated Uzbekistan’s Turabek Khabibullaev in the other final four encounter at the Hangzhou Gymnasium.
Winning Thursday’s final though will only serve as icing on the cake for Marcial, whose chief purpose coming here is to punch a return ticket to the Olympics. Only the finalists in his division will earn those Paris spots.
“This is the best news for boxing in a situation that we would have expected more to qualify. He saved (Philippine) boxing in the Asian Games. Eumir will do it again in the Olympics,” said Association of Boxing Alliance in the Philippines chairman Ricky Vargas.
The 27-year-old middleweight prizefighter was the last man standing for Team Philippines in boxing after fellow Olympic medalists Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam didn’t figure in the medal rounds of their respective divisions.
Marcial sneaked in a solid left into Ghousoon’s mid-section early in the second round that decked the Syrian, writhing in pain. The referee counted Ghousoon a standing eight and momentarily stopped the fight that gave him a breather.
Smelling blood, Marcial then went for the kill when the fight resumed, leading to the right hook that again sent his smaller foe to the canvas.
“He was hurt. So when I hit him with a right, I knew he wouldn’t stand up again,” said Marcial.
Marcial’s victory not only guaranteed another silver for Team Philippines in the Asiad, it likewise added more Filipino Olympic qualifiers to Paris, joining the cast of pole vaulter EJ Obiena ang gymnasts Carlos Yulo and Aleah Finnegan.