Cover Eumir Marcial of the Philippines brings home a bronze medal in boxing from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (Photo: Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)

The powerhouse Filipino boxer brings home the Philippines’ first men’s boxing medal since 1996

As Filipina boxer Nesthy Petecio takes home the Philippines’ second Tokyo 2020 Olympic medal and Carlo Paalam in contention for gold, fellow boxer Eumir Marcial has also secured his ticket to a podium finish—the first for men’s boxing since 1996—and the third medal for the Philippines. The powerhouse boxer settles for a bronze finish after his bout with Oleksandr Khyzhniak of Ukraine, who won via split decision. 

The semi-final match was close to call with two of the fighters suffering injuries, Marcial with a cut on the forehead and Khyzhniak on the bridge of his nose. The Ukrainian champion remains undefeated since October 2016 and with his win, extends his streak to 62. Marcial previously lost to Khyzhniak in a 2019 tournament in Bulgaria where he was forced to withdraw due to an injury in the third round.

The Zamboanga City native made rounds when he overpowered his previous opponents and scored first-round stoppages. In the quarterfinal, he exchanged punches with Algeria’s Younes Nemouchi but after an accidental headbutt left open a gash above his foe’s right eye, the referee stopped the bout and Marcial emerged victoriously. The 25-year-old also managed to score a knockdown with a right hook early in the first round.

See also: Nesthy Petecio Wins Olympic Silver Medal, Makes History As First Filipina Boxer

The hard-punching Filipino showcased the same might and power in his match against Armenia’s Arman Darchinyan. He managed to defeat the Armenian boxer via knockout in the first round, with 49 seconds left by landing a vicious right hook on Darchinyan's chin after a body shot combination.

Marcial native turned professional last year and has been training under Hall of Famer coach Freddie Roach who is also the trainer of famed Filipino boxer and eight-division champion, Manny Pacquiao. Marcial comes from a boxing family, training with his father as early as seven years old.

See also: Boxer Carlo Paalam Wins Second Olympic Silver Medal For The Philippines

When asked if his fellow Zamboanga City native, Hidilyn Diaz—who scored the Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold medal—fuelled his own campaign towards an Olympic medal, he said, "It’s a big achievement that Hidilyn won. First of all, we’re both from Zamboanga and we’re also together in the Philippine Airforce. I’m so inspired by her."

Marcial was the male flagbearer for the Philippines during the opening ceremony of the Games. His list of accolades includes bagging a silver medal at the 2019 World Championships, a gold medal in the 2019 SEA Games and a gold medal in the Tokyo 2020 Asia and Oceania Olympic qualifiers. Many took to social media to draw comparisons between him and celebrated boxer Pacquiao, who also expressed his own enthusiasm for Marcial’s win on Twitter.

See also: Hidilyn Diaz: 5 Things To Know About The Filipina Olympic Champion

This article was originally published on July 29, 2021 and was updated on August 5, 2021.

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