EUMIR Felix Marcial admitted there were already offers for him to turn pro as early as four years ago.
Deep inside though, the 24-year-old pride of Zamboanga felt he’s not yet ready to take his act to the next level.
“2016 pa lang may nag-o-offer na sa akin na mag-pro, pero sinabi ko sa sarili ko, kulang pa,” said Marcial. “Kulang pa yung experience, kulang pa yung mga tournaments na sinalihan ko.
“Ang daming nagsasabi sa akin na mag-pro ka na habang bata ka pa. Habang malakas ka pa, huwag yung huli na ang lahat,” he added.
Besides, there remains the burning desire for him to help the country win its first-ever Olympic gold.
“Sabi ko makuha ko muna yung Olympics.”
The 5-foot-8 Marcial failed to punch a ticket to the 2016 Games in Rio De Janeiro.
Four years later, the Filipino middleweight finally clinched a spot in the Tokyo Olympics as he looms as one of the country’s top bets for an Olympic gold. If not for the COVID-19 pandemic, Marcial could have been bound to the Japanese capital by now.
By this time too, Marcial felt he’s finally ready to become a pro. And last Thursday, he took the first step in that direction when he signed a six-year deal worth millions with the Manny Pacquiao (MP) Promotions.
“Nag-qualify na ako sa Olympics, so tingin ko ito na yung time, ito na yung panahon na naisip ko talaga na ready na akong mag-pro,” he said.
Eumir knows the pressure is on. Gunning for an Olympic gold and at the same time, expectations are high about being in the stable which has produced several world champions and whose owner is considered among the greatest boxers of all time.
But in the years he’s been in the sport, Marcial has learned to cope with the pressure even at a young age when he won a gold in the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championship as a 14-year-old.
“Nandiyan naman yung pressure, e. Alam natin ang sport ng boxing hindi madali kahit na sabihin natin na magaling ka,” he said.
“Ina-absorb ko yung pressure na yun at gagawin kong motivation.”
Words of a world champion in the making.