EVEN though he is planning to go professional already, Eumir Marcial said he still plans to fight for the national team in major events beyond the Tokyo Olympics next year.
Marcial said he still wants to carry the Philippine flag in so-called amateur competitions like the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games, World Championship, and even in the 2024 Olympics in Paris once he turns pro.
“Kahit mag-pro man ako, gusto ko pa rin lumaban as amateur,” Marcial told The Hit List podcast.
Recent changes in the rules of Aiba, the world governing body of the sport, have allowed professional fighters to compete in sanctioned tournaments by the international federation of the sport.
The rule change that ushered in “open boxing” in the sport recently gave Filipino pro fighter Charly Suarez a chance to compete once more in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, winning a gold in the process in front of his home fans.
Marcial intends to do the same as Suarez, and in fact, informed promoters offering him such desire.
“Hiniling ko sa mga nag-ooffer sa akin na i-allow ako maglaro sa Asian Games, SEA Games, World Championships, o ‘yung Olympics pa uli. ‘Yun ang hiniling ko sa kanila. Kung gusto ko lumaban, i-allow niyo akong lumaban,” said Marcial.
Marcial is one of the strong contenders to break the gold medal drought of the country in the Olympics. But Marcial has to wait as the Tokyo Olympics was pushed back to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even before he qualified for the Olympics, Marcial has already been getting offers from promoters led by Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions and Hall of Fame promoter Shelly Finkel. In a separate interview, however, Marcial bared he will most likely sign with Pacquiao once he turns pro.
Although awaiting him in his professional career is a chance to become a world champion, Marcial said it remains a different feeling when representing the Philippines in Aiba-sanctioned events, which he has been doing since the 2011 World Youth Championship in Astana.
“Matagal na din ako sa national team. Iba ‘yung feeling kapag naglalaro ka sa SEA Games, Asian Games, at World Championships. Iba ‘yung feeling na nirerepresent mo ‘yung Pilipinas lalo na kapag nakuha mo ‘yung gold,” said Marcial.