CAGAYAN DEO ORO, Philippines – Filipino Eumir Marcial pulled out an epic comeback in his first professional boxing fight under the glare of Las Vegas on Saturday, April 9 (Sunday, April 10, Philippine time), but his three knockdowns was a cause of concern for his massive fans here and abroad.
The Olympic bronze medalist Marcial, after hitting the canvas once in the opener and twice in the second round, managed to regain his composure and scored a controversial stoppage over the towering American Isiah Hart in fourth of the six-rounder middleweight tussle.
With the Zamboanga native Marcial pummeling his unheralded foe, the referee ruled a standing knockout 47 seconds into the fourth round that drew a protest in vain from the corner of the wobbled but yet unyielding Hart.
“There might be something bad to happen if the referee did not stop it as the American appeared to be groggy. But the three knockdowns, especially the first one when Eumir was hit with a crackling right to the jaw, was a bit alarming,” former Olympian Roberto Jalnaiz told Rappler from his Long Beach, California apartment.
“Eumir has to religiously work hard back in the gym to be strong as suffering from some knockdowns early of one boxer’s professional career may not be a good sign. It’s a great warning for him that there’s still a lot of work and sacrifices to be done,” said Jalnaiz.
It was only Marcial’s second straight professional fight win since completely dominating Andrew Whitfield in four rounds in December 2020 in Los Angeles.
Marcial’s father-in-law Reynaldo Galarpe, who is also a boxing trainer and promoter back home, acknowledged that the Tokyo Olympics fighter has to seriously develop his defensive arsenal.
“There’s no room for complacency in pro boxing. You cannot afford to lower your guards down and give the opponent an opening to attack,” said Galarpe, who was in Marcial’s corner.
“There’s a great lesson in those knockdowns that Eumir can take to his advantage in his next fights. A sort of baptism of fire that he won’t ever forget.”
The 26-year-old Marcial was stiff and sloppy right from the get-go, thus allowing Hart to deck him with a right straight that he barely survived.
Marcial lost his timing in attacking Hart in the second frame that saw him stumbling twice again on the floor after absorbing a right and left counter swings.
The voice of Marcial’s wife Princess hollered from the crowd, prodding him to be always “alert” and just play his natural game entering the third round.
Amusingly, that was all Marcial needed as he found his rhythm with aggression en route to orchestrating a spirited comeback and withstanding the scare of a lifetime that dropped Hart to a 6-3-1 win-loss-draw record, including 4 knockouts.
Netizens from around the globe quickly took to the boxer’s Facebook Page in congratulating Marcial along with some piece of advice.
One Alan Palma wrote: “Eumir Marcial you have a big heart of a Pinoy warrior. Hope to see you improving and taking the big fight in your division. Well done Eumir.”
Another one Carlo Tungol cautioned: “Improve on (your) footwork to be not a steady target, laterals and head movement plus speed..all in all you have a good heart and tremendous courage..keep on improving…salute!” – Rappler.com
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