Marcial first Filipino to bag gold in World Jr Boxing championship
Another Filipino world champion was born as light bantamweight Eumir Felix Marcial edged Turkey’s Cengiz Onat to wrest the gold in the 52-kg division of the Aiba World Junior Boxing Championship Saturday.
The 15-year-old Marcial, hailing from Zamboanga City, is the first Filipino to nab gold since the competition’s first staging in 2001.
Marcial, a wiry southpaw standing at five-foot-seven, connected with stinging 1-2 combinations en route to a 9-7 decision over the relatively bigger Onat.
Rounds one and three had an identical 3-2 tally in favor of the flashy Marcial, who came out the aggressor in the bout held at the Kazakhstan Sports Palace in Astana, Kazakhstan.
“I hit him with a good left to the body in the second round and I saw him wince in pain. At that point I knew I have a great chance but I just kept my focus and kept in mind what my coach told me to do,” said Marcial.
It was tight contest between two southpaws as Marcial was just ahead by 3-2 after the first round, with middle round tied at 3-3.
“He’s very attentive to my instructions and that’s what’s good about this kid. When he remained standing during the break entering the third round, I already felt he will win this fight,” said coach and three-time Olympian Romeo Brin.
It was a sensational journey to the finals for Marcial, who stopped Belarus’ Vaha Eduard early in their semifinals encounter last Friday displaying uncanny power.
Marcial unleashed a right hook that decked Eduard in the 1:22 mark–prompting the referee to stop the fight–an uncommon sighting in an amateur bout where boxers wear headgear.
Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) executive director Ed Picson shared that he wasn’t immediately impressed with Marcial because of his thin frame.
At the back of his mind though, he knew the kid had potential.
“I made a mistake of underestimating him because of his built,” Picson said Sunday in a radio interview on Radyo Inquirer’s Sports IQ.
48 countries participated in the major junior boxing meet, with most of the finalists coming from Asia and Europe.