BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - The Philippines will have to be content with two boxers in the Rio Olympics as the last hope for another athlete in boxing - Eumir Felix Marcial- bowed to Abbas Baraou of Germany in the World Qualifying Event at the Sardachi Oklympic Stadium Saturday afternoon.
It was a split decision as the judges from Algeria and Azerbaijan gave the German rounds 1 & 3 (28-29) while the Iranian judge awarded rounds 1&2 to Marcial (29-28).
Marcial was lured into a slugfest which was exactly what coaches Nolito Velasco and Romeo Brin warned the 20-year-old Zamboanga City native not to get into.
Baraou had previously knocked out his opponent from New Zealand on opening day and the coaches saw that his forte was fighting up close.
Seeded no. 1 in the welterweight division here and ranked by AIBA as no.5 in the world, the Filipino boxed well in the second round, attacking mostly from a distance. All three judges gave him that round.
But somehow in the third, he decided to fight toe to toe and exchange punches with Baraou.
Thursday, Ian Clark Bautista also lost in the first round of preliminaries to Jose Kelvin de la Nieve Linares of Spain, 28-29.
"Eumir claims he somehow lost his legs in the third. We were all shouting for him to keep his distance but he says he couldn't. I don't understand it", said a dejected Ed Picson, ABAP executive director and delegation head here.
"We'll have to focus on Charly Suarez and Rogen Ladon who are hard at training at the Top Rank Gym in Las Vegas under Nonito Donaire Sr. and head coach Pat Gaspi", Picson added.