Marcial Marcial celebrates. PSC/POC photo

Marcial assured of bronze

October 2, 2023 People's Tonight 379 views
Marcial in action aainst his Thai opponent. PSC/POC photo

HANGZHOU – Eumir Marcial shrugged off some anxious moments in the opening round to score a stirring knockout of Weerapong JongJoho and claim a seat in the semifinals of the 19th Asian Games boxing competitions late Sunday night.

The 27-year-old Olympian set up his Thai opponent with a perfect right hook that put JongJoho down in the canvas to hack out the impressive win before an animated crowd at the Hangzhou gymnasium.

The end came with 14 seconds left in the second round.

Marcial is now assured of the bronze medal in the men’s 80 kg class, but has a shot of advancing in the gold medal round should he get past Ahmad Ghousoon of Syria in Wednesday’s semifinals.

For a while, a podium finish was hanging in the air for Marcial after JongJoho tagged him with a straight right that wobbled his legs, prompting the referee to give him a standing eight count.

“Yes, nahilo ako nung tinamaan niya ako. Kasi makikita nyo naman yung size ng kalaban ko sobrang laki,” said Marcial of his 6-foot-1 Thai opponent, who beat John Marvin for the light-heavyweight gold of the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia.

But having been to a lot of wars, the Olympic bronze medalist didn’t panic and kept his composure.

“Pero tinitingnan ko yung oras. Sabi ko last one minute ibubuhos ko na ito. Ayun, lumabas yung resulta,” said Marcial as he lets out a holler.

It was a perfect right hook Marcial delivered that JongJoho didn’t know what exactly hit him when he stood up as the referee guided him to his corner.

“Sabi ko makatama ka lang ng isang beses, mananalo tayo,” said head coach Ronald Chavez.

Now Ghousoon awaits Marcial in the semis set on Wednesday.

The Syrian fighter won by unanimous decision, 5-0, against Shabbos Negmatulloev of Taijikistan in the other quarterfinal.

Meanwhile, Carlo Paalam hopes to follow Marcial in the boxing semifinals but will be up against a tough opponent in reigning world champion Carlo Khalokov Abdumalik of Uzbekistan in Tuesday’s quarterfinal round.

Paalam climbs the ring against the 23-year-old Uzbek at 7:30 p.m. at the Hangzhou gymnasium.

The Tokyo silver medal winner needed to dispatch Uulu Munarbek Seiitbek of Kyrgystan in the Round-of-16 by the score of 4-1 to reach the quarterfinals. Seiitbek, 27, was bronze medalist in the last World Championship in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Now, Paalam will have to go through no less than the gold medal winner himself in a bid to join Marcial in the semis.

“Halos lahat sila sa division namin magaling,” admitted the 25-year-old Filipino of the stacked roster in the men’s 57 kg class where is fighting for the first time.

Daunting the task may be, but head coach Ronald Chavez likes the chances of Paalam opposite Khalokov.

“Kaya ni Carlo talunin yan,” said Chavez, unmindful of the fact Paalam is the shortest in his division given that he moved up from 54 kg where he won a silver in the Olympics.