Quality sparring partners toughen up Marcial


    OLYMPIC-BOUND boxer Felix Eumir Marcial yesterday said he has learned a lot from his current trainers, including famed American ring guru Freddie Roach, and found quality sparring partners since moving to the United States last October for his build-up to the Tokyo Olympic Games next year.

    “Marami talaga akong natutuhan sa mga coaches ko rito at nag-papasalamat po ako na mabigyan ng pagkakakataon para makaensayo muli, pati na rin sa sparring,” Marcial said during the online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.

    Since setting up training camp in Los Angeles, the Zamboanga City pride has been under the tutelage of Roach, Roach’s deputy Marvin Somodio, as well as fitness and conditioning trainer Justine Fortune, with Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood as his base of operations.

    Joining Marcial in the public sports forum backed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., Amelie Hotel, Brasca Restaurant, San Miguel Corp., Go for Gold, Smart and Milo was MP Promotions chief Sean Gibbons, who said he is not in hurry for Marcial to earn his spurs in the pro ring.

    “We wanted Eumir to have a four or six-rounder this December, but this is not our main priority. Our main goal is his preparation for next year’s Olympics, and winning your country’s first gold,” Gibbons said. “Perhaps early next year we will finally have a fight.

    “Again, our focus since Day 1 since we started talking to Eumir is Tokyo 2021. He has gone to work with a lot of different fighters under the tutelage of Freddie Roach.”

    Marcial said that had he not gone overseas “malamang po hindi pa rin nakapag-ensayo.

    Ang alam ko po yong mga pitong Olympic boxers ng India nasa Europe at nagte-train na. Tapos marami na rin na ibang boxers nag-qualify sa Olympics nag-turn pro na rin. Kung nandiyan ako sa Pilipinas, ang hirap.”

    The 30th Southeast Asian Games gold medalist said he has lost around seven kilos since arriving in Uncle Sam’s country and was just six pounds over his fighting weight of 154.3 pounds as a light middleweight.

    Aside from working out, Marcial said he has kept close watch on his weight by keeping to the nutrition and diet plan set by the Philippine Sports Commission nutritionist.

    Gibbons said among the main reasons that he wanted the power-punching yet nimble southpaw to go to the US was to enable the Pinay fighter to enroll in “boxing college” with Roach, Somodio and Fortune as his principal tutors.

    From these three trainers Marcial said he has learned how to use the ring better as his tool in defeating his opponents.

    “Pang-amateur pa rin ang focus nila. ‘Yung mas-effective na suntok. Paano mag-control ng temper. Hindi manggigil. Dapat relax lang,” he elaborated.  “Tinuruan po nila akong gumamit ng ring, anong side ang dapat gamitin at paanong hindi ka mako-corner. Kung saan ka lalabas at umikot sa loob.”

    Unlike the lack of heavier and capable sparring partners back in the Philippines, Gibbons noted that most of those that Marcial has fought at Roach’s Wild Card gym “are world-class fighters.”

    Among the fighters that have already tangled with Marcial were veteran super middleweight Gabriel Rosado, former world middleweight contender Brandon Adams and Russian-Armenian featherweight Aram Avagyan, who all work out at the Wild Card, according to Gibbons.

    “Rosado went 10 to 12 rounds with Marcial before he fought Danny Jacobs last weekend because he wanted to spar with someone left-handed. He (Marcial) did very well,” the American handler said.

    He singled out Avagyan, who is undefeated with 10 wins, four by knockout, against one draw, noting that “he’s very crafty and kind of Olympic-style, too.”

    Marcial said he was impressed by Avagyan when they sparred because “simple lang mag-laro pero ang hirap tamaan.”