MANILA, Philippines—Eumir Marcial partnered with Hall-of-Fame trainer Freddie Roach in his preparation not only for his Olympic debut but also for the start of his professional career.
The two met on Friday (Manila time) and got to work immediately with Roach seemingly taken back to 2001 when he first met Manny Pacquiao.
“When Eumir walked through the door into the upstairs gym, I flashed back to 2001 when Manny first walked through the same door looking for someone to do mitts with him,” said Roach.
“Eumir and I had a great time. I told him the story of how Manny and I met and showed him the original ring where we trained for so many fights, the dressing room Manny used in the original portion of the gym, and had a nice talk about what we expected from each other.
Pacquiao, the Philippines’ most successful boxer and the sport’s only eight-division champion, entered Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles as a scrawny junior featherweight but developed into a genetic freak eventually becoming the WBC World junior middleweight in 2010 when he beat Antonio Margarito to a pulp.
Marcial, meanwhile, wandered into the famed boxing gym as a middleweight and already has an impressive amateur resume at the division.
A three-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, Marcial was a silver medalist in the Aiba World Championships and booked his ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when he ruled the Asia and Oceania Olympic Qualification.
“There is one difference between my first look at Manny and Eumir. Manny was fighting at 122 pounds while Eumir will be starting at 160. That’s quite a difference!” said Roach.
Marcial and Roach, along with MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons, went on a tour of the gym and eventually made their way to the downstairs ring.
Roach put Marcial through four rounds of mitts and sent him to work on the heavy bag and speed bag.
“Eumir has a lot of power and talent but we have a lot of work to do. It’s a very unusual situation working on a fighter’s professional debut knowing that we will be preparing for the Olympics after he turns professional,” said Roach.
“I really hope we can be the first to bring a world title and Olympic gold to the Philippines. That would be very special.”
Marcial, meanwhile, was ecstatic to work with Roach.
The American trainer guided Pacquiao to his most impressive spell in his career and is a seven-time Trainer of the Year.
“Freddie Roach is a boxing legend in the Philippines and to think I am now training with him…it’s a dream come true,” said Marcial.
“I felt like I was walking in Manny’s footsteps when Freddie was giving me the tour of the original part of Wild Card and telling me stories about training with Manny. To see the Philippines flag so prominently displayed made me very proud. And working out with Freddie was a great learning experience. I cannot wait to return for our next session.”
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