The man who could be the successor to Manny Pacquiao as the face of boxing in the Philippines has signed with Pacquiao’s MP Promotions and plans to turn professional in 2020. But Sean Gibbons, the president of MP Promotions, told Yahoo Sports that Eumir Felix Marcial, 24, plans to fulfill a promise he made as a teenager to his father and pursue an Olympic gold medal.
The silver medalist at the 2019 world championships at 165 pounds, Marcial will compete as a pro at middleweight. Gibbons said he would be based in the U.S. and have three fights, with the first coming in October, before then concentrating on the Olympics, which begin July 23, 2021, in Tokyo.
A southpaw, Marcial is among the favorites in his weight class and would be the first Filipino in any sport to win Olympic gold if he pulls it off.
Gibbons raved about Marcial’s potential and said he went against a long-standing policy of not signing hotshot amateurs to their first professional contracts.
“I started in boxing in 1985 and this is the first amateur I’ve ever been involved in signing,” Gibbons said. “Usually, I let them sign with someone else and pick them up after the deal is done four years later. But Eumir is special for a lot of reasons. For MP Promotions, the Senator wants to be involved with any young Filipino, of course, and help them make it the right way. He’s a freak of nature. There hasn’t been a Filipino this big, this strong with this kind of talent come along in a long, long time.
“There are two things you are born with, heart and a punch, and he has a tremendous amount of heart and he is a very big puncher. He’s been whacking guys out in the amateurs and he’s had no formal, world-class training. The kid can really punch.”
Gibbons said he plans to hire an elite American-based trainer to work with Marcial. Because of Pacquiao’s connection with Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, Gibbons said he’d bring Marcial to Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood to see how they work together.
He said Roach understands the pressure that Marcial will face in his home country having worked so long with Pacquiao.
“Obviously, Freddie did an incredible job with the Senator and he understands what it takes,” Gibbons said. “Freddie understands the Filipinos and that unique culture and so we’re going to see what Freddie thinks and hopefully maybe they’ll work together.”
Gibbons said that because Marcial is more advanced, he’ll be on the fast track and face better opposition earlier than most young fighters. Gibbons said he believes Marcial will become the first Filipino to win a legitimate middleweight world title.
“It is an honor to have my idol, Senator Manny Pacquiao, as my mentor and promoter,” Marcial said in a statement. “I have seen the tremendous opportunities that Senator Pacquiao and MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons have given to so many Filipino boxers. I feel working under the MP Promotions banner will give me the best opportunity as I prepare for the Tokyo Olympics and my professional career.”
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