MANILA, Philippines–The expectations were high for Eumir Marcial heading into his first Olympics.
So far, the gold medal bet has lived up to the hype.
The hard-hitting Zamboanga native powered through the men’s middleweight semifinals, assuring himself of at least a bronze medal after knocking out Armenia’s Arman Darchinyan in the Tokyo Olympics Sunday.
Marcial sent Darchinyan crashing face first on the canvas with 49 seconds left in the first round, winning his second straight bout in dominating fashion.
It was a vicious right hook on the chin that crumpled Darchinyan, who still looked dazed after the bout.
“I didn’t expect I would finish the fight in the first round because I know he’s a good boxer, a strong boxer. [But] that’s boxing, you know? You don’t expect the punch,” Marcial said.
The 25-year-old Marcial fights in the semifinal, where he can turn his bronze into something more, on Thursday, August 5, at 2:03 p.m. against Ukrainian world champion Oleksandr Khyzhniak.
Khyzhniak, who held off Dominican Republic’s Euri Cedeno Martinez in a thrilling quarterfinal clash, beat Marcial in a tournament in Bulgaria two years ago after the Filipino was forced to withdraw at the start of the third round due to a hand injury.
In his Olympic debut on Thursday, Marcial flaunted his power and scored a first-round stoppage over Algeria’s Younes Nemouchi.
Petecio, the pride of Davao del Sur, takes her shot at the gold on Tuesday after she scraped past European champion Irma Testa of Italy by split decision in a thrilling semifinals affair.
The country’s boxing team could end up delivering three gold medals at best with Carlo Paalam also in contention for the top prize.
Paalam entered the men’s flyweight quarterfinals after outclassing three-time Olympian Mohamed Flissi of Algeria on Saturday.