“Ceasefire muna tayo.”
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Bambol Tolentino made that call as tensions between Eumir Marcial and boxing stakeholders have risen with less than two months to go before the Tokyo Olympics.
“With this Olympics fast-approaching, ceasefire muna tayo. Para wala munang damage or what,” the long-time politician told the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum, Tuesday. “Para sa bayan muna isipin natin.”
The middleweight sensation, last May 8, aired his grievances in Radyo5’s Power and Play. He claimed that he has not received enough support for his campaign in the Summer Games, taking place from July 23 to August 8.
The former AIBA Junior world champion also claimed that he does not receive the same assistance as other Olympic bets such as weightlifting star Hidilyn Diaz, gymnast Carlos Yulo, and pole-vaulter Ernest John Obiena.
“Since nung umalis po ako, wala po akong natanggap na tulong galing po sa ating mga tumutulong sa sports,” Marcial said. “Never ako magsalita na sana about sa ganyan kasi gusto ko, training lang ako papuntang Olympic.
“Pero any kind of support meron po ako — coaches po galing ABAP — pero kung ‘yung support katulad ng mga qualified tulad nina Heidi, nina Carlos Yulo at EJ Obiena at iba pa… Ako po, wala po akong natatanggap.”
That, of course, did not sit well with the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP). ABAP said that it felt ‘taken aback’ by the 25-year-old’s statements during the May 11 edition of the PSA Forum.
“We were taken aback by his statements na wala raw suporta from the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) and from ABAP, which is completely untrue,’‘ federation secretary general Ed Picson was quoted as saying.
That didn’t stop there. A day after ABAP’s response, Marcial took to Facebook and responded to former Philippine Sports Commission chairman Aparicio Mequi’s post. He insisted that his 43,000-peso monthly allowance is insufficient.
The Zamboanga native wrote: “Since last year nong nasa United States ako hanggang ngayon dito sa Zamboanga City tingin niyo sapat ang 43,000 pesos monthly allowance para sa preparation para sa Olympics?”
“Do you think I can [rely] jan sa 43,000 pesos para sa plane tickets, accommodation, food, coaching staff, supplements, masseur, etc. Lahat ng na mention sa taas provided by private sponsors and of course my own money.”
This kind of development is not a good sight to see, especially with the Olympics coming up. Still, Tolentino hopes that all parties involved can set issues aside and focus on the task at hand.
“I’m trying to reach out with those athletes especially Marcial. Ganun talaga message ko, focus muna sa Olympics,” said the congressman, who’s been POC prexy since 2019.
“Tsaka na natin pag-usapan ‘yun after Olympics.”
At present, Marcial is with the national boxing team in Dubai for the ASBC Asian Elite Men’s and Women’s Boxing Championships, which opened Tuesday. The recently-turned pro is the only Olympian in the Philippine contingent.
Marcial, who was successful in his pro debut by beating Andrew Whitfield last December, has also received support from local sports figures just last week, including Japan B.LEAGUE import Thirdy Ravena and Chooks-to-Go.