By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno
Filipino middleweight boxer Eumir Marcial (File photo)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency)– Men’s middleweight boxer Eumir Marcial assured the Philippines of its third Olympic medal this year after knocking out Armenian opponent Arman Darchinyan in their quarterfinal meeting on Sunday at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.
Just like his tournament opener against Algerian opponent Younes Nemochi, Marcial did not take long to finish off Darchinyan.
Marcial quickly went on the offensive right after the opening bell, forcing Darchinyan to be on the defensive mode.
The first breakthrough came right at the midway point of Round 1 when referee Wulfren Olivares had seen enough of Marcial’s quick combination on Darchinyan and made a standing eight count on the Armenian.
The full stoppage came at the 2:11 mark of the opening period when Marcial delivered a right hook that sent Darchinyan down the canvas, forcing Olivares to call it a bout.
Marcial, seeded fourth in the division but was tagged by the Associated Press as the heavy favorite for the gold, will face tournament top seed Oleksandr Khyzhniak of Ukraine in the semifinals on Thursday.
Khyzhniak booked his way to an assured medal of his own after beating Euri Cedeno of Dominican Republic right before the Marcial-Darchinyan fight.
Khyzhniak turned on the jets in the last two rounds after a tight Round 1 en route to a 4-1 split decision win.
Regardless of the result, Khyzhniak and Marcial will walk away with at least a bronze.
The Philippines’ 2021 Olympic team has tied the 1932 team with the most medals won as the latter collected three bronzes in Los Angeles.
The major difference is that two of the current team’s medals have bigger bearings, Hidilyn Diaz’s weightlifting gold and Nesthy Petecio’s assured boxing silver.
Petecio, however, can still take the gold if she beats Sena Irie of Japan in the women’s featherweight final on Tuesday also at the Kokugikan Arena.
Meanwhile, Juvic Pagunsan officially bowed out of the men’s golf event after a somehow better performance in the final round also on Sunday at the Kasumigaseki Country Club.
Pagunsan finished one-under-par 70 in Round 4, slightly better than his previous two rounds in which he went two-over-par 74 in Round 2 on Friday and five-over-par 77 in Round 3 on Saturday.
He had a chance to finish the event at under par level, but he bogeyed his final hole, a Par 4 hole, and ended up one-over-par 285 overall.
As of posting, Pagunsan, who after Day 1 was tied for fifth place, is in 55th place out of 60 golfers. (PNA)