AMERICAN MP Promotions chief Sean Gibbons was practically drooling yesterday at the prospects of promoting newly-minted pro and Olympic-bound middleweight boxer Felix Eumir Marcial.
“He (Marcial) is the biggest prospect I have ever worked with in my 35 years of boxing. It’s quite an honor. I’ve never done work with amateur fighters before. But Eumir is a special guy,” the Las Vegas-based Gibbons said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association forum online session.
Marcial, who signed a six-year deal with the outfit owned by fighting lawmaker Sen. Manny Pacquiao last week, also joined the online forum sponsored by the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corp., San Miguel Corp. Smart, Amelie Hotel, Brasca Restaurant and Go for Gold.
“We have a lot of things in store to get Eumir’s (pro) career going,” the veteran promoter added. “We want to bring him over to the US for training with some of our best trainers, possibly even Freddie Roach.
“But we’re kinda really focused in the first year (of the contract) in winning that Olympic gold medal. So everything that we do involving him will be professional fights leading to the Tokyo Olympic Games.”
The former Top Rank matchmaker said he is thrilled in handling the professional career of Marcial, citing the qualities that made the Filipino fighter special and a future force to reckon with in the professional ranks.
“First of all, Eumir has two things. You’re either born with it or you don’t: he’s a puncher and he’s got heart,” he noted. “He has a good chin and he has that determination and will to win. You don’t see Filipino boxers at this weight (middleweight) and that’s historic already.
“What he has achieved fighting at 165 pounds in the amateurs is incredible. It’s unheard of.
It doesn’t happen. People love a puncher and that’s what got me excited about handling him in the first place. ”
Marcial, who has not had any gym workouts and continues to be holed out at his Imus, Cavite residence since the COVID-19 pandemic locked down the country in mid-March, said he’s ready and raring to go.
In the event that he would have to go to the US to train, the Zamboanga City pride said he is hopeful that his amateur coaches Ronald Chavez and Australian Don Abnett could tag along.
“Ang gusto ko pa rin maging coach ay si coach Ronald and coach Don Abnett. Siyempre, Olympics pa rin ang ating preparasyon. Siyempre, para ma-maintain pa rin ‘yong style ko,” he explained. “Hopefully, makasama ko ‘yong mga coaches ko. Kung pupuwede sila pa rin.”
Gibbons said that MP Promotions would pick up the tab for Eumir’s stay in the US but was not sure about the two coaches.
Informed of Marcial’s desire, Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines secretary general Ed Picson said he has not discussed the matter with the boxer.
“We will sit down with officials of the Philippine Sports Commission, which funds Marcial’s Olympic training and the salaries of the coaches, the possibilities regarding the situation,” Picson said. “So far this is all I can say about the matter.”
ABAP chief Ricky Vargas had said earlier the association is willing to extend all-out support to Marcial in his quest for an Olympic gold.
Gibbons bared that he is lining up at least three fights, all of them either four to six-round bouts, for Marcial, possibly in October, once the newest star of the MP stable lands in the US and trains in Los Angeles.
“Once the travel restrictions ease and Marcial arrives here we plan to line him with a bout of six or four rounds in October as part of his Olympic preparations,” he said, adding these fights will be handled by the Premier Boxing Champions firm owned by American promoter Al Haymon.
Once the boxer, and possibly his amateur coaching staff, gets to the US, Gibbons assured that he would personally look after the health and welfare of Team Marcial so that they would not be exposed to the contagious virus.
“Like what you over there, Marcial’s movements will be limited to his house and training.
Somebody will be assigned to look after his essentials while he will practice the usual health precautions such as wearing face masks and social distancing once inside the gym,” he said.
He expressed confidence that given the right fights and exposure, Marcial’s stock would rise in the middleweight ranks and could emerge as a world champion halfway through his six-year contract.
“We will give Eumir the right spots and the rights shots and all he has to do is kick some butt,” Gibbons said.