Eumir Marcial’s return to the amateur boxing ranks did not go as planned.
The Tokyo-bound middleweight suffered a unanimous decision loss against Uzbekistan’s Saidjamshid Jafarov in the semifinals of the 2021 Asian Elite Men’s and Women’s Boxing Championships, Friday evening at the Grand Ballroom of the Le Meridien Hotel in Dubai, UAE.
The scorecards went 30-27×3, 29-28×2.
This was Marcial’s first bout in the tournament. His opponent in the quarterfinals, Mongolia’s Otgonbaatar Byamba-Erdene, earlier forfeited his bout due to injury.
Though Marcial was aggressive in the 15-minute affair, Jafarov was more cerebral in his approach. He settled for counter-punches that earned the judges’ nod.
“We are of course saddened by the loss of Eumir Marcial, but that’s boxing. Adjustments will have to be made and there is some time left. That said, I think this should be a wake-up call for all concerned, not just to Marcial,” said Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines president Ricky Vargas.
“We all need to be united behind our four boxers in their quest for Olympic glory. Aside from Marcial, we believe Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio, and Carlo Paalam have equal chances to perform well in Tokyo.”
Marcial will now head to Denver, Colorado for the final stage of his training for the global meet in July.
“We have arranged for Marcial to participate in a multi-nation training camp in Colorado Springs, the home of Olympic boxing in the USA. This is the milieu that he needs to be training under,” Vargas shared.
“USA Boxing is also graciously assisting us in getting visas for our three other Olympians and our coaches to the Colorado Springs camp.”
Light flyweight Mark Lester Durens and bantamweight Junmilardo Ogayre also suffered lopsided decisions in their respective semis bouts.
Durens could not get it going against Indonesia’s Kornelis Kwangu Langu in a unanimous decision loss, 30-27×4, 30-26.
Ogayre, on the other hand, was overwhelmed by the moment. He could not get anything going against Uzbekistan’s Mirazizbek Mirzahalilov, bowing via UD as well, 30-27, 30-26×2, 30-25×2.
Team Pilipinas ended their campaign in the desert with four bronzes, with Josie Gabuco also notching a medal.
“Considering that this was our boxers’ first competitive exercise in over a year, the results were not particularly worrisome. We had mostly new guys in the line up because our top tier boxers are in Thailand, so four bronze in an Asian championship is nothing to be ashamed of,” said ABAP secretary general Ed Picson.