Ancajas ‘100 percent sure’ Marcial will be world champion

FILE – The Philippines’ Eumir Felix Marcial celebrates after knocking out Vietnam’s Nguyen Manh Cuong to claim the gold medal in the men’s middleweight event of the 30th Southeast Asian Games. INQUIRER PHOTO/ Sherwin Vardeleon

MANILA, Philippines — Eumir Marcial has accomplished almost everything an amateur boxer can achieve, with an Olympic medal the lone exception.

And as celebrated as he is now as an amateur, Marcial, according to IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas, also has what it takes to be a decorated fighter in the pros.

“I’m a hundred percent certain that Eumir will become a world champion,” said Ancajas in Filipino in a Zoom interview with Inquirer.

“We always talk and before he turned pro he asked me for advice and I told him that he’s already got the discipline and he’s always received quality guidance from the Lord. He’s got the skills and the strength already.”

And those qualities have already propelled the Filipino middleweight to three gold medals in the Southeast Asian Games, a silver in the Aiba World Championships, and a gold in the 2020 Asia & Oceania Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament.

The 24-year-old Marcial decided to officially turn pro this year when he signed a contract with Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions last month. Though, he remains focused on his goal o bring home an Olympic gold.

Ancajas, who fought nearly a hundred fights as an amateur, joked that he should be the one getting advice from Marcial who’s an official Olympian.

“I don’t think I should be the one to give him advice because he’s an Olympian,” joked Ancajas.

“But as a pro, all I can tell him is focus on being a great boxer. There’s a lot of politics involved in the sport so he just has to focus on the boxing

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Rare drought fails to dampen James Anderson’s spirits as England veteran vows to soldier on

Murmurs of an impending retirement were gradually building on Monday as James Anderson prepared to address the media, but those were quickly put to bed as the England veteran vowed to carry on.

Having just turned 38 two weeks ago, Anderson is no longer the spring chicken he once was in his prime. Hence, talks of an irreversible decline were accelerated after his listless showing in the recently concluded Manchester Test against Pakistan.

Playing on his home turf at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground, the Lancashire man picked up just the solitary wicket across the two innings. It was quite the comedown for a bowler who has become synonymous for tormenting opposition batsmen under the rain clouds of England’s summer.

It has been a lean summer by Anderson’s high standards with the stalwart picking up a total of six wickets in as many innings against the West Indies and Pakistan. For a man who kicked off 2020 with a seven-wicket haul against South Africa in Newlands, the recent displays might represent cause for alarm.

The veteran has failed to grab any wickets in the second innings for three Tests and running now. These diminishing returns do raise questions about Anderson’s fitness levels in particular and whether he can maintain the intensity over the course of five days.

Although the concerns are valid, it is too hasty to suggest that the seamer has lost his golden touch. He beat the bat on several occasions in Manchester against Pakistan and even saw a catch put down off his bowling. The veteran vented his ire by kicking the ground in frustration, as Ben Stokes looked on apologetically as the guilty fielder in the slip cordon.

“It’s been a frustrating week for me personally,” Anderson said on Monday as quoted by the ICC.

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UEFA says Atletico-Leipzig match ‘to be played as normal’

FILE – An unidentified Atletico’s player kicks the ball during the Spanish league football match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Real Sociedad at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on July 19, 2020. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

UEFA said Monday the Champions League quarterfinal between Atletico Madrid and Leipzig is “planned to be played as scheduled” on Thursday despite two positive tests for coronavirus at the Spanish club.

Atletico on Sunday reported two individuals at the club had tested positive for coronavirus, just days before they face German club Leipzig in Lisbon, where all eight quarter-finalists will gather.

The club did not say whether the positive tests concerned players, coaching staff or officials.

Atletico said a fresh round of tests was being carried out on the squad and backroom staff on Monday.

A UEFA spokesman said: “The match is planned to be played as scheduled. We have no further comments to make.”

Atletico said in a statement on Sunday that the two individuals who tested positive “are self-isolating in their respective homes”.

In an unprecedented move during a season that was halted for three months by the coronavirus pandemic, UEFA decided that the Champions League will be completed in a ‘final eight’ tournament in Lisbon.

Under the UEFA protocol for European competitions, a team must have 13 healthy players, including a goalkeeper, for a match to go ahead.

Failing that, UEFA can give the go-ahead for the match to be re-scheduled.

The quarter-finals start on Wednesday when Italian side Atalanta takes on Paris Saint-Germain. The final is scheduled to take place on August 23.

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