By Waylon Galvez
Tokyo Olympics-bound boxer Eumir Marcial was the biggest casualty Friday when the Philippine boxing team was wiped out of the ASBC Elite Men and Women Boxing Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Though seeded No. 1 – and already a professional – Marcial suffered a stunning 5-0 loss to Uzbekistan’s Jafarov Saidjamshid in the semis of their middleweight class (75kg) clash.
And in the eyes of coach Roel Velasco, Marcial, who won his pro debut late last year, was a bit slow and lacking in power.
“Sa nakikita ko kay may Marcial medyo bumagal siya at kulang pa ang strength,” Velasco said in a message to Manila Bulletin-Tempo. “Sabi ko nga sa kanya pagbutihan nya na ito at mag focus sa training.”
Velasco, however, remained optimistic that Marcial can regain the zing that has made him one of the best in his weight category.
“Meroon pa siyang seven weeks na natitira para lalo pa niyang mapagbutihan ang training.”
But in some accounts, Marcial was said to be a victim of poor officiating, claiming that he was prevented by a referee each time he landed a solid shot at his rival.
Marcial is set to participate in a multi-nation training camp in Colorado Springs, the home of Olympic boxing in the USA.
“USA Boxing is also graciously assisting us in getting visas for our three other Olympians and our coaches to the Colorado Springs camp,” said ABAP President Ricky Vargas in a statement.
Two other Filipino boxers – light flyweight (49kg) Mark Lester Durens and bantamweight (56kg) Junmilardo Ogayre also lost to their respective foes also via similar 5-0 shutout.
Durens was beaten by Daniyal Sabit of Kazakhstan, while Ogayre fell to top seed Mirazizbek Mirzahalilov of Uzbekistan.
In a Facebook post after the fight, Marcial apologized for his performance that left much to be desired.
“I would like to express my apologies for not being able to bring home the gold medal,” said Marcial. “It may not be the result or outcome we expected but still I want to thank everyone.”