Marcial settles for silver

Becoming the No. 2 middleweight boxer in the world is already a major achievement for Marcial. (Contributed photo)

Eumir Felix Marcial settled for silver medal after bowing to a Russian foe in the finals of the men’s middleweight division of the AIBA World Boxing Championship in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

One of the country’s brightest bets in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Marcial was leading in the scorecards after the first round when Gleb Bakshi caught him with a wayward left hook in a wild exchange in the second round.

Marcial managed to get up, but the Russian smartly avoided his attack up to the final bell.

Three judges saw it 29-28 while two officials scored it 29-27 to award the hometown boy the gold medal via unanimous decision.

“Eumir showed a lot of determination and skills and to be the No. 2 middleweight boxer in the world is already a major achievement,” said Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP) president Ricky Vargas in a short statement.

“We will support him and other worthy boxers in getting intensive training on the road to the SEA Games and the Olympic qualifier next year. We will again request the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) for their usual assistance.

Elite men head coach Ronald Chavez worked Marcial’s corner with foreign consultant Don Abnett and Australian head coach Kevin Smith, a former ABAP consultant, who volunteered to help out when coach Roel Velasco had to rush home when his mother passed away.

“Marcial performed superbly, but just got unlucky. But we need to get him to develop his own brand of boxing, which he cannot do at home because of lack of sparring partners in his weight division. We need to get him and our other big guys appropriate training partners,” said Chavez.

ABAP secretary general Ed Picson is in final negotiations with the Great Britain Boxing Association for a training camp in the England Institute of Sport in Sheffield, England next month.

“The British team is excited to have our team with them in the camp. We’re just sorting our visa issues,” Picson said, adding that they are proud with how Marcial fared in the world’s most prestigious boxing tourney.

“Out of 78 countries that participated in the tournament, only nine were represented in the Finals and Eumir put the Philippines in that list. We are proud of him.”

Other members of the team were flyweight Carlo Paalam, featherweight Ian Clark Bautista, lightweight James Palicte and light heavyweight John Tupas-Marvin.