KUALA LUMPUR — Eumir Felix Marcial said there was extra motivation to stop his Malaysian foe in the semifinals after what he felt was a questionable loss by teammate Carlo Paalam to a home bet in the Southeast Asian Games boxing competition.
Marcial is one of three Filipino boxers who made it to the finals, while three are out, including Paalam, who exited at the quarterfinal stage.
All fired up, Marcial needed only one round to eliminate Indran A/L rama Krishnan in the middleweight division, a left hook stunning the Malaysian and the fight was stopped with 1:58 left.
"Masaya. Sobrang saya kasi, unang una, (Monday), natalo si Paalam. Masakit para sa amin kasi kasama namin siya mag-training tapos matatalo lang sa hindi saktong desisyon," said the middleweight fighter.
"Gusto kong bumawi, bawian 'yung kasama namin," said Marcial.
The gold medal match is on Thursday, and Marcial said he is also determined to win for 2016 Olympian Charly Suarez and Ian Clark Bautista, who fell at the semifinal stage.
"Kahit sa mga kasama namin, masakit 'yung talo," said Marcial, who will face Thailand's Pathomsak Kuttiya for the gold.
Kuttiya only recently moved up in weight and is fighting for the middleweight gold for the first time, according to Alliance of Boxing Associations of the Philippines executive director Ed Picson.
Mario Fernandez will take on Chatchai Butdee of Thailand for the bantamweight gold, while John Marvin will battle Adli Hafidz B. Mohd Pauzi of Malaysia in the light heavyweight final.
Marvin, a Fil-Briton boxer making his debut in the SEA Games, is unperturbed as he faces a Malaysian for the title.
"It's just the same pressure as the pressure put on me against the Cuban, and I knocked him down in the first round," said Marvin, referring to Felix Merlin Jimenez, the Cambodian fighter of Cuban descent who he beat in the quarterfinals.
"It's just another case of we are getting there and listen to the coaches."
Abap is hoping the Filipino finalists would be able to leave no doubt about their superiority.
"That's what we are working on, to make sure that it is a convincing win," said Picson.
Meanwhile, Thailand again showed its supremacy in the region with five of six entries making it to the finals.