Tokyo Olympics-bound Eumir Felix Marcial left the country to train in the US for his first professional fight, but felt he was receiving no support from the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) for him to reach the elusive gold medal.
Marcial, who signed with Manny Pacquiao’s promotion, will be training in Los Angeles with Freddie Roach, who mentored boxing’s lone eight-division world champion.
“Malapit na ‘yung Olympics and until now, puro virtual training lang kami sa ABAP. Bilang respeto sa kanila (ABAP), naghintay lang ako ng ano ba plano nila sa akin kasi nga, qualified na ako sa Olympics at isip ko, under pa din ako ng ABAP,” said Marcial.
“Halos two months na ako nag-coordinate sa kanila pero parang wala pa din plano sa akin kaya nagdesisyon na ako na mag-training sa US.”
(The Olympics is already near and until now, we only have virtual trainings in ABAP. I respected them by waiting for a plan since I qualified for the Olympics and I’m still under ABAP. It’s been two months of coordinating with them, but there was still no plan, so I decided to leave for the US.)
Though Marcial signed with a promotion, the 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist promised to see action in the delayed Tokyo Olympics next year.
Marcial asked for the services of Australian Don Abnett as a boxing coach and national team coach Ronald Chavez in his trip to the US, but the request was declined.
“Siguro nga masama loob ng ABAP o kung ano man ang dahilan nila kaya sila ganiyan kasi nga nag-pro na ako,” added Marcial.
“Pero since last year pa sinabihan ko na sila mag-pro na ako at gusto ko din naman sila ang kasama ko at tumulong sa akin kasi kahit pro na ako, Olympics pa din ang focus ko kasi nga pwede naman mag-Olympics kahit professional na ako.”
(I guess there were hard feelings from ABAP since I decided to turn pro, so that’s why they are treating me this way. But since last year, I’ve been telling them that I wanted to turn pro and I still want them to be at my side and help me, because even if I’m already a pro, the Olympics is still my focus because you participate in the Olympics while being pro.)
Marcial is fueled by his father Eulalio’s dream to cheer for him in an Olympic campaign.
Aside from training woes in the country, Marcial revealed that he has not received any incentive from his Asian Olympic qualifiers gold medal run.
However, the Olympic qualifying tournaments are not covered under the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act (RA 10699).
ABAP also confirmed that there were no bonuses given even to Irish Magno, who also qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the tournament.
“Amateurs are supposed to compete for flag and country. Just ask athletes from other sports and other countries. But ABAP always gives. Then again, these are challenging times, so we are still sourcing funds for that. I hope he will be patient,” said ABAP president Ricky Vargas.
“We will give him money. We even wrote PSC to upgrade his and Magno’s allowances after they qualified.”
ABAP released a statement saying that it was “shocked and perplexed” at the statements made by Marcial as it put the national federation in a “bad light.”
“I don’t understand what Eumir is complaining about. Despite our pleas for him to start fighting as a professional after the Olympics, he decided to embark on a pro career at this stage. We wanted to help him in the transition but he refused our offers to assist him in that process,” said Vargas.
ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson also refuted Marcial’s allegations of the national federation not providing any support to his training.
Picson said ABAP sent him training equipment he requested for after the lockdown was lifted. They also sent him a pocket wifi to help him attend the daily online training sessions but the Filipino pug did not attend a single one.
The secretary-general also explained that the PSC allowed Abnett and Chavez to join Marcial in the US, but they will not be paid by the government sports agency.
“Which makes perfect sense,” according to Picson. “Since these coaches are being paid by PSC to work with the national team for amateur boxing, not for the pros. And how would the other boxers feel, if they were denied the services of two of our best coaches because they had to attend to one professional boxer?”
Picson further claimed that he informed Marcial that Abnett offered to train him daily in Cavite weeks before he left for the US.
“I told Eumir of Don’s offer, and informed him ABAP would shoulder Abnett’s transportation expenses in commuting from Malate (where Abnett lives), to his place in Cavite and back. He agreed,” shared Picson.
“Abnett called and texted him several times to arrange this, but Marcial never took or returned his calls nor replied to his text messages.”
Marcial is one of 4 Filipinos who qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.