Marcial Marcial

Marcial delivers

August 2, 2021 People's Tonight 387 views

THE joke in the neighborhood goes likes this: Eumir Marcial is like a pizza delivery boy; he’s always in a hurry.

The other week, Marcial took only 161 seconds to dispose of Algerian Younes Nemouchi in his debut bout, winning by RSC (Referee Stopped Contest) in the first round to kick off his bid in astonishing fashion. To be exact, he took only 161 seconds to get the job done.

Yesterday was no different. Marcial got rid of his rated quarterfinal foe in Armenian Arman Darchinyan in a jiffy as if he had a Sunday noon lunch date, needing only 131 seconds to win and advance to the semifinals of the middleweight division as boxing competition in the Tokyo Olympics reached its crucial stages.

In the Sunday program’s most savage win, Marcial caught Darchinyan with a crushing right hook to the jaw with 49 seconds remaining the first round, sending his fellow pro crashing to the floor like a man who had a drink too many.

When the referee waved off the Armenian, Marcial jumped with joy and yelled, before exchanging fist bumps with the two men in his corner and hugging his badly-beaten foe in the middle of the ring.

Marcial was also seen whispering something to Darchinyan after the bout.

“Nilapitan ko s’ya after ng laban at sinabi ko na ‘Maraming salamat sa laban na ito, alam ko na masakit ‘yung pagkatalo mo pero lahat tayo gustong manalo.’ Sports pa rin. Lahat po ng mga nakalaban ko, itinuturing kong kaibigan after the match sa ring,” Marcial said.

“Hindi ko po inaasahan na mana-knockout,” said Marcial after his second stoppage win in as many bouts that assured him of at least a bronze medal. “Pero ganon po talaga sa sports, may nangyayari na di mo inaasahan”.

But to many who had seen the early going of the fight, the end for Darchinyan was just a matter of time.

In fact, Amateur Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP) Ricky Vargas texted his boss, businessman and sports patron Manny Pangilinan, with the fight barely one-minute old and told him the Armenian would not last long with the way things were going.

“Tulog ito,” said Vargas, telling two sportscasters of the text message he sent to the man they call MVP.

Earlier in the round, Marcial, 25, rocked Darchinyan with a dazzling 1-2 combinations for an eight-count, giving the few Filipinos in the almost empty hall an inkling of what was in store for the morning.

They saw a demolition.

As the two fighters, who both train under the great Freddie Roach, exchanged haymakers in a neutral corner, Marcial delivered a thundering right to the jaw to end the fight and arrange a semifinal duel with top seed Oleksandr Khyzhniak of Ukraine, who was also spectacular in scoring a 4-1 decision over Dominican Republic’s Euri Cedeno in a bout rich in intensity and action.

The Ukrainian had beaten Marcial before, in 2018 in Russia, although the Filipino was fighting hurt following a shoulder injury, forcing head coach Ronald Chavez to throw in the towel.

Marcial said it’s not going to be the same when they meet later this week.

“Kundisyon na kundisyon po ako ngayon,” said Marcial.
A victory by Marcial will put a second Filipino boxer in the final after Nesthy Petecio had shocked 5-foot-8 Italian Irma Testa in the semifinals of the featherweight division last Saturday to gain a shot at the country’s second gold medal in Tokyo after the historic win of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz last week.

“Hindi ko inexpect yung suntok. Basta ang akin lang, bitaw lang ako ng bitaw ng suntok ko. Ito naman yung pinag-ensayuhan namin,” said Marcial, now back in the graces of ABAP after a short rift that marked his long buildup to the Games.

Right after the fight, the Armenian repeatedly claimed he was hit at the back of the head, telling Filipino sportswriters that he was hit by a foul blow.

However, television replays showed that he got floored by a clean hit.

ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson also doesn’t believe allegations by Darchinyan since the referee didn’t call an illegal blow on Marcial.

“If there was a foul, he referee should have called it. Kung walang tinawag ang ref, di wala,” said Picson in Manila.

With the overpowering win, Marcial sent chills to the spine of the remaining contenders in the division, including Khyzniak who got some fits in the first round where he was somehow bothered by aggressive, attacking style of Cedeno.

The victory gave the most prominent of the four-member boxing team a guaranteed bronze medal while assuring a best-ever finish for Team Philippines since it started seeing action in the world’s biggest, most prestigious sporting gathering in the 1932 Olympics.

With still several Filipino athletes still waiting for their turns to plunge into action and take a shot at the medals, Team Philippines is already assured of its most prolific medal harvest that includes the victory of Diaz, the gold or silver of Nesthy Petecio and the guaranteed bronze of Marcial.

Another Filipino in Carlo Paalam is still standing and will climb the ring on Tuesday against top seed and defending champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan for a place in the semifinals of the men’s flyweight division. By Joe Antonio