OLYMPIC-BOUND boxer Felix Eumir Marcial yesterday expressed relief that the Philippine Sports Commission is not withdrawing support for his build-up to the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games despite his intentions to turn pro.
“Nais ko pong ipahayag ang aking lubos na pasasalamat sa pamunuan ng Philippine Sports Commission,” Marcial said in a statement. “Labis po akong nag-alala nang mabalitaan ko ang posibilidad na tanggalin ng gobyerno ang aking suporta sa aking hangad na manalo ng Olympic gold sakali man na ituloy ko ang pagpasok sa professional boxing.”
Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines secretary general Ed Picson had tried to dissuade Marcial from joining the pro ranks, warning that he could lose PSC support, including allowances and funds for his Olympic training, should he do so.
ABAP hedged its bets, talking to veteran American boxing manager Shelly Finkel to co-manage Marcial, but the latter backed out, citing “complications” involved in the deal.
PSC Commissioner Ramon Fernandez and PSC Deputy Executive Director Atty. Guillermo Iroy Jr. said the government would sustain its support for the boxer, who earned an Olympic slot by ruling the men’s middleweight division of the Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifying meet in Amman, Jordan last March.
Marcial acknowledged their reassurance, saying: “Agad naman naging tugon nina Atty. Iroy at Commissioner Fernandez, nagbigay ng katiyakan ng kanilang 100 percent support hindi lang ng aking kampanya kungdi lahat ng ating Olympians.”
The Imus, Cavite-based athlete said his decision to turn pro has not been easy and hasty, adding he had been getting pro offers as early as two years ago.
“Sa tulong po ng aking pamilya at mapagkakatiwalaang mga kaibigan, dalawang taong ko na po itong pinag-aaralan simula nang dumating ang unang offer noong 2018,” Marcial, 24, said. “Sa una, naging makatotohanan po ako sa kanila sa pagsabi na nais ko munang tutukan ang pagkampanya sa Olympics.”
He stressed that his mind was not fully made up and “hanggang ngayon ay patuloy pa po ang aking pagsusuri sa mga alok at mga posibleng sitwasyon ko sakali mang pumasok ako ng professional boxing.”
Marcial insisted that rather than being a “distraction,” the would-be managers and handlers inspired him to qualify for the Olympics and win a gold medal in the Tokyo Games next year.
“Salamat sa tiwala ninyong may potensiyal akong maging Olympic gold medalist at pati maging isang maging professional world boxing champion,” he said.
For all of those who put their faith in him, the boxer assured them that “ako ay lalaban sa
Olympics at ibubuhos ang hanggang huling patak ng aking dugo at pawis na makuha natin ang inaasam na Olympic gold.”