John Marvin didn't let 'Cuban' boxer hype derail him at 2017 SEA Games
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Filipino-British boxer John Marvin was not having any of the hype or, as he termed it, "malarkey" over his debut bout against naturalized Cambodian Felix Merlin Martinez during his debut for the Philippines in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games here.
Marvin, 24, was oozing with confidence when he stepped into the ring at the Malaysian International Trade and Exhibition Center, never letting talk of facing a Cuban-born boxer in Martinez get to his head.
His laser-focus and the fruits of his training quickly showed in the opening minutes, when he dropped Merlin to set the tone right away. It wouldn't be the last time Merlin came face to face with the canvas on Monday, August 21.
"Obviously there was a lot of malarkey [about] him being Cuban and stuff," the 6-foot-1 Marvin said. "But at the end of the day, I said it comes down to when you're in that ring. Doesn't matter where he's from."
And so nothing else mattered when Marvin notched a convincing unanimous decision victory that, for several instances, even felt like it might turn into a knockout victory. Marvin knocked down Martinez at least 3 times throughout the fight as Martinez appeared dazed and kept looking at the referee.
"I think he just couldn't keep up really. He just wanted to keep holding on and stuff. Started looking at the referee for some attention and stuff," said, whose mother is Filipino.
Cuban boxers are notoriously good in amateur boxing, and Marvin must have received fair warnings about his opponent. But instead, he dispelled the chatter with a strong debut for the Philippines that might have exceeded expectations.
"I'm just thankful that I finally got to do it and represent the Philippines from my heart," said Marvin, a native of the Isle of Wight in England who also competes with the British Army team.
"It's been a great build-up. I've loved it. The support from everyone has been good, it's been really good."
Marvin's next assignment is Thailand's Anavat Thongkrathok, although he wasn't aware of that fact immediately after his first win. However, it was still clear to him what his next foe wouldn't be.
"My next fight, I don't know who he is but I'm sure he won't be as bad as the" – he motioned in air quotes – "'Cuban.'" – Rappler.com