ARMAN Darchinyan of Armenia lies on the ground after being knocked down during his fight against Eumir Marcial of the Philippines. — REUTERS

FILIPINO middleweight boxer Eumir Felix D. Marcial advanced to the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympic Games after knocking out Armenian Arman Darchinyan in the opening round of their quarterfinal clash at the Kokugikan Arena, Sunday.

The Zamboanga native Mr. Marcial stopped his opponent with a well-timed right hook with 49 seconds left in the first round that instantly sent Mr. Darchinyan to the canvas.

The win assured the Philippines of another medal in Tokyo after the gold medal won by weightlifter Hidilyn F. Diaz and the gold or silver up for boxer Nesthy A. Petecio in the finals of the featherweight division on Tuesday.

Twenty-five-year-old Mr. Marcial was in his element right from the opening bell, pounding on Mr. Darchinyan with combinations to the head and body that hurt the latter and resulted in an early standing eight count.

When the fight resumed, the Filipino bet continued to pummel the Armenian eventually landing a two-punch combination with a right hook straight to Mr. Darchinyan’s head and that sent him down.

The referee checked on Mr. Darchinyan before declaring the fight over.

In the semifinals on Aug. 5, Mr. Marcial will face Oleksandr Khyzhniak of Ukraine.

“My next opponent will be strong, but I’m confident that I can hold my own and be ready,” said Mr. Marcial of his semifinal fight.

After Mr. Marcial’s win, the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP) hailed his impressive performance so far. “Eumir’s back and he’s ready,” said ABAP Secretary-General Ed Picson in an interview with TV5.

Sending its congratulations to Mr. Marcial, meanwhile, was Malacañang, which also urged him to go for the gold.

“We congratulate Eumir Marcial for securing the Philippines’ third Olympic medal when he defeated his opponent in the men’s boxing middleweight quarterfinals today, Aug. 1, 2021, at the Tokyo Olympics,” read a statement from Presidential Spokesperson Herminio “Harry” L. Roque, Jr.

“Let us continue supporting and cheering Eumir and other Filipino athletes in their quest for gold. Mabuhay ka (Long live), Eumir. Go for gold!”

Meanwhile, Filipino golfer Juvic Pagunsan finished his Tokyo Games campaign at solo 55th place as of this writing with a 1-over-par 285 across four rounds at the Kasumigaseki Country Club. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo