Marcial vs Ukrainian, Paalam battles Japanese in crucial boxing matches


TOKYO—Eumir Felix Marcial and Carlo Paalam resume the country’s gold medal quest in the Tokyo Olympics when they seek final round berths in boxing at the Kokugikan Arena on Thursday.

Paalam climbs the ring first in a flyweight bout at 1:30 p.m. (Manila time) hoping to summon all his big punches to dominate Japanese Ryomei Tanaka.

Marcial, who earned a reputation as the knockout king of the Tokyo Games, faces Ukraine’s Oleksandr Khyzhniak in a middleweight semifinal battle starting at 2:03 p.m. (Manila time).

Victories by both would guarantee them silver medals and shots at the same gold medals Hidilyn Diaz won in women’s weightlifting two Mondays ago. Marcial is facing a familiar foe in Khyzhniak, who beat him at the Strandja International in Bulgaria in 2019.

But that loss won’t be much of a bother for Marcial.

“Eumir lost to Khyzhniak in Bulgaria because I didn’t allow him to continue in their fight,” coach Ronald Chavez said. “I didn’t want to aggravate Eumir’s shoulder [right] injury then.”

Coach Don Abnett, meanwhile, said Marcial has become stronger as the Olympics got older.

Marcial, 25, won his first two bouts via stoppage, winning by Referee Stopped Contest-Injury against Algeria’s Younes Nemouchi via (RSC-I) with 19 seconds remaining in the first round of his first fight last Thursday.

He  then knocked out fellow pro Arman Darchinyan of Armenia crashing down to a painful knockout defeat 2:11 in the first round last Saturday.

“I didn’t expect to win this way. For me, it was basic boxing—unleash punches,” said Marcial of his demolition of Darchinyan.

Paalam has also carved his own reputation in these Olympics that end in four days. He pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Tokyo with his conquest of Rio 2016 gold medalist and world champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan in the quarterfinals.

“We are overjoyed with Carlo’s win over the Rio gold medalist. It was an upset that the coaching staff told me was imminent, but we were still concerned until Carlo came out smoking in the first round. He truly looked like a champion,” Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines president Ricky Vargas said.

Vargas said he also has high hopes Paalam will go all the way to win the gold.

“I don’t know much about boxing technique and form but I can tell you Carlo’s a winner,” he said.

Read full article on BusinessMirror