Yesterday in the US fans tuning into Fox Sports 1 had the chance to see the professional debut of Filipino amateur standout Eumir Felix Marcial (1-0), as he took on tough American fighter Andrew Whitfield (3-2, 2) in a 4 round Middleweight.
On paper this was an interesting match up for Marcial, though it became little more than a showcase against an opponent who seemed play his part perfectly. Whitfield wasn't there to spoil and survive, like we sometimes see in the UK, but was there to win and spent good portions of the fight trying to fight toe to toe with the Filipino. Sadly for Whitfield that wasn't a tactic that was going to work, and Marcial was too quick, too sharp and too energetic for him.
Despite Marcial being too good Whitfield kept coming forward, looking to test Marcial mentally and physically. Whitfield landed a good right hand in the opening round, but his success was, for the most part, limited and he was very comfortably out landed in every every round. The shots from Marcial ended up leaving Whitfield with nasty swelling around his right eye, but he showed absolutely no quit, and survived the 4 round schedule.
After 4 rounds there was no doubting Marcial had won every round, but credit goes to Whitfield for making this such a great fight, and really going out there with belief and hunger. This wasn't an easy debut for Marcial, and as a result he really did get to show what he could do on debut, and certainly caught the eye of fans who got the chance to see a really fun 4 rounder.
We suspect that Marcial will work on having a more defensive style in the future, but this was the ideal debut and was the sort of performance that will catch the eye of fans who perhaps weren't aware of the wonderfully talented Pinoy pugilist.
As well as wanting to see more of Marcial, obviously, we also want to see more of Whitfield, who genuinely did give his all here and deserves more TV bouts on the back of this one.
Olympian Eumir Felix Marcial admits he is feeling some pressure a day before he makes his highly-anticipated ring return.
But the thought of winning his upcoming fight as a birthday gift to his promoter Manny Pacquiao is helping Marcial loosen up a bit.
The Zamboanga-native Marcial will face American Andrew Whitfield in a four-round battle Thursday morning (Manila time) which will be the Filipino Olympian’s first official professional bout to be held at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles, California.
“Dagdag motivation din ito kasi sakto pa na birthday ni senator Manny dyan sa Pilipinas habang lumalaban ako dito. Ito na muna siguro ang magandang regalo ko kay senator habang nandito ako sa US,” said Marcial who travelled to the US last October to train under Freddie Roach.
Pacquiao will be turning 42 on Thursday, December 17.
Last July, Marcial signed a promotional deal with Pacquiao’s MP Promotions after giving his assurance to the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) that he will still pursue his Olympic campaign no matter what.
The Olympics already opened its doors to professional boxers starting in the 2016 Rio Games.
Marcial qualified to the Tokyo Games after winning the gold medal during the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament last March in Amman, Jordan.
He has since been idle until he decided to sign up with MP Promotions which immediately gave him a chance to train with Roach starting last October.
“Lahat ng ito, preparation para sa Olympics. Kahit na professional na itong laban ko, lahat ng kasama ko ngayon, si coach Freddie, coach Marvin (Somodio), coach Justin (Fortune), Sir (MPP President) Sean (Gibbons), ang nasa isip namin lahat Olympics,” said Marcial.
During the weigh-in one day before the fight, Marcial registered 162.4lbs while Whitfield came in at 165.8lbs. The contracted weight is 163lbs.
“The real key is to focus on the Olympics but to get an experience to have a couple of four rounders, six rounders under his belt because all of the guys he is going to compete against (in the Olympics) are fighting in tournaments or turning pro,” Gibbons said.
Two months to the day he began training with World-Famous Freddie Roach, amateur middleweight standout and 2021 Philippines Olympic team member Eumir Felix Marcial will make his pro debut.
Marcial, from Zamboanga City, Philippines, will rumble with power-punching Andrew Whitfield (3-1, 2 KOs), from Lewiston, Idaho, in a four-round middleweight bout.
The fight, part of a Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) event, will take place Wednesday, Dec. 16 (Dec. 17, Manila time) and will be televised live from LA Live's Microsoft Theater on FS1.
Marcial, who is signed with PBC and Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao's MP Promotions, is following in Pacman's footsteps by training with Roach at his Hollywood-based Wild Card Boxing Club.
Wild Card is where the boxer laureate and eight-division world champion Pacquiao trained for his greatest in-ring performances. Inasmuch as professional fighters are now allowed to compete in the Olympics, Wild Card is serving as a "one-stop shop" for Marcial's preparations for professional and Olympic glory..
"Turning professional is an important step in my journey to the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. A lot of the fighters I may face in the Olympics have already turned pro so my professional training with Freddie will keep me at their level of experience when we battle in the Olympics," Marcial said.
"But my ultimate goal has always been to make my Dad's dream a reality, a dream he has had since my first amateur fight, to win an Olympic gold medal. That is the prize I have in my eyes. I want to be the first to bring Olympic gold back to Philippines.
"When I enter the ring for my pro debut I will not be alone. I am grateful for the support from a lot of people, including MP Promotions President Sean Gibbons and Senator Manny Pacquiao for having their faith in my ability and signing me, and allowing me to follow in the footsteps of Manny, an idol of mine for as long as I can remember. Like Manny, I have been blessed to travel to Hollywood and train under the guidance of a great teacher in Freddie Roach. I know what Manny and Freddie have accomplished together. I think of that every day and wake up inspired to do better than the day before. It is hard work but is has been good work.
"I also want to thank everyone who has helped me get to this point in my career. I am indebted to so many, including the Philippine Air Force, all my coaches on the Philippines Boxing team, Coach Ronald Chavez and Don Abnett, and Philippines Sports Commission Chairman William Ramirez. I would also like to express my gratitude to the Association of Boxing Alliances, including President Ricky Vargas and Secretary General Ed Picson."
"On behalf of MP Promotions and Filipinos in our country and around the world, I'd like to say how proud we are of Eumir," Manny Pacquiao said. "I still remember how excited I was to begin my journey with Freddie and I know they will make a remarkable team. This isn't just a debut for a professional boxing career, it is the beginning of a historic quest. God bless Eumir Marcial."
"I am very excited to see Eumir turn professional because it is an important step in gaining valuable experience for his Olympics campaign. It's essential preparation to compete at the highest level for the 2021 summer games in Tokyo," said Sean Gibbons, President of MP Promotions.
"If all goes well, Eumir will have one or two more pro fights to continue his preparation for next year's Olympics. I would also like to join Eumir in thanking the Philippines Sports Commission and its chairman William Ramirez for their support, as well Ricky Vargas and Ed Picson, the respective President and Secretary General of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines, and Dennis Principe for his help and guidance."
Before the pandemic shut the world down, Marcial had been on a roll. He punched his ticket for the 2021 Olympics in March by winning all four of his bouts in the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying tournament in Amman, Jordan. Marcial was the top seed in his division. Last December, he captured the gold at the 30th Southeast Asian Games as well as the silver medal in last year's World Boxing Championships. His illustrious résumé also includes being a three-time SEA games champion
Earlier today our good friend Ian Melodillar reported that Filipino amateur standout Eumir Felix Marcial (0-0) has finally applied for a professional license ahead of his first professional bout.
The stellar Pinoy southpaw signed with MP Promotions earlier this year, and has been training in the US recently though full details as to the when, who and where of his debut were unknown. Today however that seems to have changed slightly and he now seems to have a potential opponent lined up
As mentioned above in Ian's tweet the target American foe Andrew Whitfield (3-1, 2) is the target for Marcial, in what could be a 4 or 6 rounder.
Whitfield is a 29 year old who debuted in October 2016, lost his second bout, 2 years, but has won his last 2. On paper he's not a dangerous fighter for someone with Marcial's amateur pedigree, but he should take the Filipino rounds and get him some needed ring time ahead of more serious tests, including the Tokyo Olympics.
At the moment it's unclear when the bout will be, though it's assumed that the bout will fall on either December 19th or December 26th, and it will be on a PBC show. Our suspicion is that the December 19th show, headlined by Nonito Donaire, would make more sense given that Donaire will have Filipino eyes on the show anyway though boxing hasn't always been about making sense.
Touted as a future contender at the Olympics Marcial is one of a number of amateurs testing the water in the pros this year, as the gap between the two formats muddies further and we're genuinely excited to see how he looks later this month.
It's fair to assume we are going to see more and more fighters fighting in both the amateur ranks and the pro ranks at the same time. We've most notably seen a number of Uzbek's doing it but other names have had fighters do it too.
The latest fighter to confirm their plans to do is Eumir Marcial (0-0) who's team now plan for him to have 3 professional bouts to help him prepare for the Tokyo Olympics.
The first of those is expected in, or around, October, with the hope then being to get him out against in January and April to further his preparation for the Olympics.
The plans were revealed by Sean Gibbons, who is quoted by the Manila Standard as have said “We hope to have three fights and we have nine months for that. That’s almost a year before the Olympics"
Sadly it is unlikely that the bouts will be any sort of a test for Marcial, and more a chance to tick over, stay busy and learn about about the professional ranks before heading into a more traditional professional career after the Olympics.
Essentially the fighter is getting the best of both worlds, but he's certainly not alone in that with Uzbek fighters like Bakhodir Jalolov (6-0, 6) also expecting to fight as both a professional and an amateur over the next 12, if not longer. It's something we expect to see more fighters considering, especially given the way the Tokyo Olympics has been delayed due to the on going global situation.
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