In a rematch two years in the making, Eumir Marcial figured in his biggest test in the 2020 Olympic men’s middleweight tournament in Oleksandr Khyzhniak. But he could not get the nod of the judges, losing via split decision, Thursday at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan.
The judges scored the bout, 29-28×3, 30-27, 28-29 in favor of Khyzhniak with Cuban judge Wilfredeo Vazquez Calero scoring all rounds for the Ukrainian.
“Malakas siya na fighter, deserve niyang manalo,” said Marcial of Khyzhniak, who won gold medals at the world (2017) and European (2017 and 2019) championships and looked prime to win gold in these pandemic Olympics.
Khyzhniak previously defeated Marcial back in 2019 during the Strandja International. This time though Marcial brought the heat to Khyzniak.
After Khyzniak connected a clean shot on Marcial, the Filipino was woken up, connecting on a 1-2-3 combination that was capped by his trademark hook. Marcial would then target the body but an accidental clash of heads bloodied him up.
In the second round, Khyzniak got the upper hand early but Marcial went on the offensive, connecting on a four-punch combination. A right hook by Marcial opened up Khyzniak, who was cut at the bridge of his nose.
Still, the Ukrainian kept on his charge.
“May kulang pa, kinapos ako sa hangin,” he said.
In a wild finish, Khyzniak, a punching machine, just charged through everything Marcial threw at him. A mano-y-mano exchange closed out the Olympic epic.
“I gave my all to win, but that’s the decision,” Marcial told an American journalist.
“I know God has plans for me… for me, this bronze is gold.”
Still, it was a great run for Marcial.
In his first two bouts against Younes Nemouchi and Arman Darchinyan, the proud son of Zamboanga City only spent a total ring time of four minutes and 52 seconds. He stopped both competitors in the first round.
Khyzhniak, on the other hand, had to go through the full nine minutes against Yuito Moriwaki and Euri Cedeño.
The 25-year-old Zamboangueno will go home with bronze — the Philippines’ third medal of the games and 13th overall. Philippine boxing also took its seventh Olympic medal and its fourth bronze.