Eumir Marcial

Eumir Marcial gracious in loss: ‘This bronze is gold’

Delfin Dioquino
Eumir Marcial gracious in loss: ‘This bronze is gold’

RESPECT. Eumir Marcial exits the Tokyo Games after losing to Oleksandr Khyzhniak.

Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

Eumir Marcial says Oleksandr Khyzhniak deserved to win as he fell short of an Olympic finals berth following a split decision loss in their men's middleweight slugfest

Eumir Marcial tipped his hat to Olympic tormentor Oleksandr Khyzhniak, accepting his narrow split decision loss to the Ukrainian in the men’s middleweight semifinals that saw him exit the Tokyo Games.

The Filipino admitted he ran out of steam in their slugfest of a bout as a machine-like Khyzhniak kept the pressure from start to finish despite enduring heavy blows from Marcial.

Three judges scored the bout in favor of Khyzhniak, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, while two had it for Marcial, 29-28, 29-28.

“He is a strong fighter. He deserved to win,” Marcial said in Filipino of Khyzhniak, now tipped as the favorite to win the Olympic gold.

Marcial ended the second round ahead in the scorecards, 2-1, with two judges marking it tied at 19-19 going into the final salvo.

But Khyzhniak, who won all of his 61 previous fights since 2016, hardly looked spent from all the action as he took the third round with identical scores of 10-9 to advance to the gold-medal match.

Even with the heartbreaking defeat, Marcial clinched a bronze.

“I gave my all to win, but that was the decision,” Marcial told an American journalist. “I know God has plans for me.”

“For me, this bronze is gold.”

After the Olympics, it is now back to the drawing board for Marcial.

“I still have a long way to go. I ran out of air.” –

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.