DOHA, Qatar – In a battle of heavy hitters, 19 year-old Filipino Eumir Felix Marcial emerged victorious against tough Youba Sissokho of Spain, earning a split decision in the final day of preliminaries of the AIBA World Championships at the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiya Stadium.
The judges from Russia and Turkey gave two rounds for the Filipino, 29-28, while the Uzbek judge saw it the other way for the Senegal-born boxer by the same score.
Marcial, buoyed by lusty cheers from a huge Filipino crowd (Friday is day-off in Muslim countries), unloaded heavy bombs from the start and withstood the challenge from the 23-year old from Spain.
“Puro kombinasyon ang binato ko at malalakas ang patama ko, akala ko nga nakuha ko lahat ng round. Pero okay lang, ang importante nanalo tayo at buhay ang pangarap natin na maka-Olympics (I threw combinations and heavy ones at that, I actually thought I won all the rounds. But it's okay, the important thing is, we won and our Olympic dream is alive)” said the ever-smiling Zamboangueno.
The quarterfinal round of the championships begins Saturday with Ladon taking on Dawid Jagodzinski of Poland in the afternoon session, while in the evening Marcial tries to take revenge on World number 1 Daniyar Yeleussinov of Kazakhstan who beat him in the Finals of the Asian Championships in Bangkok early last month.
Both Filipino boxers need to win their next 2 bouts in order to book a ticket to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics next year.
Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao who came to Doha for a brief visit that lasted less than 24 hours Thursday, promised the boxers a bonus of P500,000 each for a gold medal here. He also announced a P5 million windfall for any Filipino athlete who wins the coveted top plum in the Olympics.