IT appears the pressure is more on Eumir Felix Marcial competing in the 29th Southeast Asian Games than in the AIBA World Championship.
While the stakes are definitely higher in the August 25 to September 3 world tilt in Hamburg, Germany, Marcial is aware that he’s expected to deliver nothing less than the gold once the national boxing team’s campaign gets going in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Marcial, 21, is one of three Filipinos who earned berths in Germany along with Rogen Ladon and Daniel Maamo after winning bronze medals in the ASBC Asian Elite Men’s championship in Tashkent, Uzbekistan last May.
But instead of going to the worlds, Marcial was included by the Alliance of Boxing Associations of the Philippines (ABAP) in the SEA Games roster, where the prospect of winning a medal in his division – much more a gold – is definitely greater.
The last-minute change of plan has given Marcial the tough task of delivering for the Philippine boxing team a gold in a field where only six divisions are at stake.
“May pressure ng kaunti,” admitted the native of Lunzuran, Zamboanga City to SPIN.ph prior to the team’s departure for the Malaysian capital this weekend.
“Pero sa mga kasamahan ko din nakikita na nagte-training sila ng maayos at nagbibigay yun sa akin ng motivation na maka gold din ako.”
A former junior World Championship gold medalist (2011 in Astana), Marcial was also a gold winner in the 2015 edition of the SEA Games in Singapore.
But he has since moved up to middleweight, where he makes his debut on Sunday against a Vietnamese foe, along with Ian Clark Bautista (versus Malaysia), and Mario Fernandez (against Myanmar).
Marcial said he’s not aware if there are any previous foes at welterweight who did the same for this year’s SEA Games.
“Hindi ko lang alam sir kung meron,” said Marcial, who admitted he’s very much comfortable fighting at 75 kilos.
“Ito yung natural na timbang ko ngayon,” he said. “Tsaka kaya ko naman yung bigat ng suntok.”
A southpaw, Marcial said there was a tinge of regret that he’ll not be able to compete in what would be his second World Championship stint after the Doha, Qatar edition in 2015.
“Medyo nanghinayang (din),” he said. “Sana nag separate na lang. Sayang din yung world championship, sayang yung opportunity at tsaka nag-qualify ako dun.”
But Marcial is not complaining. He’s ready wherever ABAP wants him to be, and in this case, it’s the SEA Games.
“Kung saan ako ilagay ok lang sa akin kasi parehas namang makakapagbigay ka ng karangalan sa bansa,” he stressed.