By Nick Giongco
Olympic middleweight boxer Eumir Marcial has been guaranteed financial support by the Philippine Sports Commission even if he signs up to become a professional.
The PSC’s announcement was warmly received by Marcial’s mother unit, the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP), which had expressed apprehension over initial reports that the heavy-handed puncher will no longer be entitled to a monthly stipend because he is turning pro.
ABAP president Ricky Vargas finally heaved a sigh of relief after PSC commissioner Ramon Fernandez and executive director Guillermo Iroy assured the Zamboanga native that he has nothing to worry.
“I am happy for Eumir. Now there is no more hindrance for his desire to turn professional. We wish him the best and if Eumir is willing and able when the Olympics come around, we will gladly welcome him to the line-up,” said Vargas.
ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson was likewise relieved that the issue has been resolved.
“This is the happy compromise we were looking for and now that PSC Commissioner Ramon Fernandez and Deputy Executive Director Guillermo Iroy Jr. have reportedly come out with the assurance, we are relieved. We thank Comm Mon and Atty Iroy for stepping up to the plate for Eumir,” said Picson.
Even if he has decided to enter the pro ranks, Marcial promised the ABAP that he will represent the country in the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics next year as winning an Olympic gold is his ultimate dream.
Marcial was overjoyed by PSC’s guarantee of support to his Olympic quest despite him being a pro.
Although Marcial has yet to ink a contract, it is expected that he will do so very soon.
“Nais ko pong ipahayag ang aking lubos na pasasalamat sa pamunuan ng Philippine Sports Commission. Labis po ang aking pag-alala nang mabalitaan ko ang posibilidad na tanggalin ng gobyerno ang kanilang suporta sa aking hangad na manalo ng Olympic gold sakali man na ituloy ko ang pagpasok sa professional boxing,” said Marcial in a statement.
“Agad naman ang naging tugon nina PSC Deputy Executive Director Atty. Guillermo Iroy at Commissioner Ramon Fernandez na nagbigay ng katiyakan ng kanilang 100% support hindi lang ng aking kampanya kungdi ng lahat ng ating Olympians,” added Marcial, whose stock rose after the 2018 Asian Games silver medalist topped the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament last March in Amman, Jordan.
“Nais ko din linawin na ang posibilidad na pagpasok ko ng professional boxing ay hindi po masasabing desisyon na aking minamadali.”
MP Promotions (MP Promotions) of Sen. Manny Pacquiao, through its president Sean Gibbons, is one of the entities courting Marcial.
MP Promotions represents all four reigning Filipino world champions, including Pacquiao.
Also fighting under MP Promotions are Jerwin Ancajas, John Riel Casimero and Pedro Taduran.
Pacquiao had earlier told the Manila Bulletin of his desire to use his influence in making sure Marcial’s world title shot gets expedited.
Even if he fights as a pro, Marcial insists that he will remain devoted to fulfilling his life-long aspiration.
“Isa lang ang tinitiyak ko sa lahat, na ako ay lalaban sa Olympics at ibubuhos ang hanggang huling patak ng aking dugo at pawis makuha lang natin ang inaasam na Olympic gold,” added Marcial.