TOKYO-bound Felix Eumir Marcial capped his successful campaign in the Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament Wednesday night by subduing Kazakhstan’s Abikhan Amankul 3-2 in the finals in Amman, Jordan.
Ranged against a sturdier yet flat-footed rival, Marcial, the top seed in the middleweight division, used his speed and savvy to outpoint Amankul at the Prince Hamzah Sports Hall at the close of the competition.
Amankul tried to bully his Pinoy rival in the opening round but Marcial countered with his hand speed, jabbing his way to a 3-2 decision.
The Southeast Asian Games champion hurt his Kazakh foe with body shots early in the second round, with Amankul retaliating with lefts to the Filipino’s body and head. The action-packed round ended with a 3-2 count in Marcial’s favor.
Although they were both assured of slots to the Tokyo Games in July, the two continued to slug it out in the third and final round, with Marcial connecting with a stinging right jab to Aminkul’s head.
The Kazakh fighter decked the Filipino near the end of the third, which the referee fortunately ruled as a slip, eventually giving Marcial a hard-earned split decision.
“I am happy to have won despite my struggles,” said the Zamboanga City pride in the post-match interview aired on the Olympic Channel. “With the help of God, nothing is impossible.”
Marcial and flyweight Irish Magno, who won in the box-offs Tuesday, will be the country’s standard-bearers in the boxing event of the Olympic Games set July 24 to Aug. 9 in Tokyo, Japan.
They are the latest Pinoy bets to qualify for the quadrennial meet after pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena and gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo.