OLYMPIAN Eumir Felix Marcial is feeling some pressure a day before he makes his highly-anticipated debut as a professional.
But the thought of winning the fight as a birthday gift to his promoter, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, is helping Marcial loosen up a bit.
The Zamboanga-native faces American Andrew Whitfield in a four-round battle today, the Filipino Olympian’s baptism of fire in the pro ranks at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles, California.
“Dagdag motivation din ito kasi sakto pa na birthday ni Sen. Manny dyan sa Pilipinas habang lumalaban ako dito. Ito na muna siguro ang magandang regalo ko kay Senator habang nandito ako sa US,” said Marcial, who left for the US last October to train under Freddie Roach.
Pacquiao will turn 42 today.
Last July, Marcial signed a promotional deal with Pacquiao’s MP Promotions after assuring the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines and the Philippine Sports Commission that he will pursue his Olympic campaign no matter what.
The Olympics has opened its doors to professional boxers starting in the 2016 Rio Games.
Marcial qualified for the Tokyo Games after winning the gold medal during the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament last March in Amman, Jordan.
During the weigh-in a day before the fight, Marcial weighed 162.4 pounds while Whitfield came in at 165.8. The contracted weight is 163 lbs.
“Lahat ng ito, preparation para sa Olympics. Kahit na professional na itong laban ko, lahat ng kasama ko ngayon, si coach Freddie, coach Marvin (Somodio), coach Justin (Fortune), Sir (MPP President) Sean (Gibbons), ang nasa isip namin lahat Olympics,” said Marcial.