BANGKOK – Eumir Felix Marcial relied heavily on his vaunted left to beat Japan’s Suzuki Yasuhiro, 2-1, and reach the welterweight finals of the ASBC Asian Boxing Championships at the Thammasat University Gymnasium.
The 19-year-old Marcial has now won four fights in the event that drew close to 200 of the finest boxers from 33 Asian nations.
Rogen Ladon followed Marcial in the gold medal round later in the day as he beat Gab-Erdene Gankhuyaghis of Mongolia, 3-0, to likewise advance in the finals of the light-fly division.
In Saturday’s finals, Marcial, a native of Zamboanga who joined the Philippine team only four years ago, will meet Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Yeleussinov, the top seed.
Regardless of what happens in the finals, Marcial is already assured of a slot to the AIBA World Championships from Oct. 5 to 15 in Doha, Qatar, a qualifying event for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“Patay na kung patay,” said Marcial after his hard-earned win over the taller Japanese, a 28-year-old veteran of the 2012 London Olympics.
Yasuhiro, also a southpaw, connected with his quick jabs early on as Marcial started slow. But once the Filipino got going, his left straights started to connect.
In the second round, Marcial hurt the Japanese with solid blows to the head, also going to the body, that seemed to slow Yasuhiro down.
Marcial won on the scorecards of the judges from Morocco and Finland, and lost in the eyes of the judge from Russia.
Marcial has suffered lumps and bruises on his face in his first three fights in this Thai capital but continued to ignore the pain inside the ring.
“Masakit na talaga kahit jab lang ang tumatama. Pero tiniis ko na lang at pinilit ko sumuntok ng sumuntok,” said Marcial, a gold medalist in the 2011 World Junior Championships.
Marcial said he will continue to do what he’s done here the past week.
“Gold na ang paglalabanan,” he said.
Ed Picson, executive director of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines, said the Japanese, an inch taller than the 5-foot-9 Marcial, was a tough customer.
“The Japanese boxer was tougher than we thought. But Marcial was clearly the more aggressive boxer. He really wanted that win,” he said.