When Eumir Marcial flies to Tokyo this July to banner Team Pilipinas’ campaign in the Olympics, he will be fulfilling a dream he has nurtured from the day he first laced up a pair of gloves.
Eumir was born to Eulalio and Carmelita Marcial in 1995 in Zamboanga, a city that has produced top-notch athletes who have proudly carried the Philippine flag in international competitions. Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz and fellow weightlifters Kristel Macrohon and Nestor Colonia, former Gilas Mark Barroca and Batang Gilas stalwarts Forthsky Padrigao and Ryan Amsali, and national women’s football team striker Camille Rodriguez are just some of the outstanding Zamboangueños and Zamboangueñas who have suited up for the national team.
Marcial’s father worked as a boxing coach, and it was from him that Eumir, at the age of seven, learned the sport. He joined local tournaments called “Golpe-Golpe Na Barangay” where he already showed promise by consistently winning his bouts.
“I would earn P300 from these tournaments. I would give the prize money to my mother so she could buy the things our family needed,” recalled Marcial.
From these humble beginnings was born the dream to make a mark even outside the city of Zamboanga. He envisioned something bigger for himself. He wanted to bring honor to the country in the grandest stage of all, the Olympics.
He shared, “My dream is for my father to see me fight in the Olympics. He is the reason I am here.
“This is my way of repaying all the sacrifices he has done for me.”
The youngest among five siblings, Marcia knows what it means to be hungry.
Growing up, he sometimes worked as a jeepney konduktor to help augment the family income. There were instances he would eat at his aunt’s house because there simply was not enough food to go around for his entire family.
This underprivileged background became the backbone of his steadfast determination to find ways to become the best version of himself, both as a person and as a boxer. He knew he held in his hands, both powerful and strong, the key to uplifting his family’s condition.
By the time he was 11 years old, Marcial was already joining national competitions. He was inspired by his older cousin, Rocky, himself a former member of the national team and a former World Boxing Organization (WBO) Oriental Super Featherweight champion.
“My cousin was my idol. I wanted to be like him because I wanted to ride a plane and travel to different places,” Marcial revealed.
At this stage in his career, Marcial has won in practically all levels of competition in amateur boxing. As a 15-year-old in 2011, he copped the title in the 2011 AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships. He is a three-time SEA Games gold medalist and an Asian Games bronze medalist. In 2019, he bagged the silver in the AIBA World Championships.
Right before the pandemic stopped practically all sports events the previous year, he won the gold medal in the 2020 Asia and Oceania Olympic Qualifiers held in Amman, Jordan by outclassing Abilkhan Amanuk of Kazakhstan, a silver medalist in both the World Championships and the Asian Games. In his pro debut last December in Los Angeles, California, Marcial scored a unanimous decision victory over Andrew Whitfield.
Marcial is one of the top amateur middleweight fighters in the world. He is also one of the country’s best medal hopes in the Tokyo Olympics. He knows what he wants and he is not afraid to speak his mind. Yet deep down, he still is the same wide-eyed probinsyano from the barangay of Lunzuran, only this time, more grounded, more driven, and more relentless.
“I just want to win in the Olympics. I really do believe it is possible. I want to win for my country, for my city, and for my family.”
He remains razor-focused on that same dream that was conceived in his heart almost 20 years ago, and that is to bring honor to the Philippines as an Olympic medal winner.