TOKYO OLYMPICS-BOUND BOXER EUMIR FELIX MARCIAL will make his pro debut this week in Los Angeles. — ALVIN S. GO

By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter

TOKYO Olympics-bound boxer Eumir Felix Marcial is set to make his professional debut this week, which he said is geared towards his quest for the Summer Games.

One of four Filipino athletes to date to have booked a spot for the rescheduled Olympics next year, Mr. Marcial, who signed a pro deal with Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions early this year, is to make his pro debut on Dec. 17 (Manila time) against American Andrew Whitfield (3-1, two knockouts) in a four-round middleweight bout in Los Angeles.

It is part of Premier Boxing Champions’ offering which will be held at the Microsoft Theater and broadcast over FS1.

“Turning professional is an important step in my journey to the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. A lot of the fighters I may face in the Olympics have already turned pro so my professional training will keep me at their level of experience when we battle in the Olympics,” said Mr. Marcial, alluding to the fact that professional fighters are now allowed to participate in the quadrennial Games.

“My ultimate goal has always been to make my dad’s dream a reality, a dream he has had since my first amateur fight, to win an Olympic gold medal. That is the prize I have in my eyes. I want to be the first to bring Olympic gold back to the Philippines,” he added.

Zamboanga native Marcial has been training with famed Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach at the latter’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood since October with the end view of levelling up his training for the Olympics, while also beginning his journey as a professional.

MP Promotions has made it known that it is fully supportive of Mr. Marcial’s pursuit of Olympic glory, and is making sure the fighter fulfils his obligations to flag and country.

Heading to his pro debut against Idaho native Whitfield, Mr. Marcial, 24, said he is very excited and that they have been training hard to make his first foray as a pro a success.

“When I enter the ring for my pro debut, I will not be alone. I am grateful for the support from a lot of people… It is hard work, but it has been good work,” he said.

Mr. Marcial further said that on his mind as well are the people who provided the opportunities for him to be in the position where he is now, including the Philippine Air Force, the Philippine boxing team and its coaches, and local sports officials, particularly Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines President Ricky Vargas and Secretary-General Ed Picson.

“If all goes well, Eumir will have one or two more pro fights to continue his preparation for next year’s Olympics,” said MP Promotions President Sean Gibbons.

Mr. Marcial earned a spot in the Olympics by way of the Asia-Oceania qualifying tournament in Amman, Jordan, in March, where he won all of his four fights.

Apart from Mr. Marcial, also going to the Tokyo Games are pole-vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, and boxer Nesthy Petecio.