Limpag: Marcial the Olympian

Mike T. Limpag
·4 min read

Olympics-bound boxer wins pro debut. Now that’s something you don’t read every day nor something you would have read a couple of Olympic cycles ago. Eumir Marcial, the latest great Pinoy boxing hope for an Olympic gold medal, made Andrew Whitfield look like an amateur on Dec. 17, 2020 (PH time), when he made his long-anticipated pro debut.

Marcial clinched a spot to the Olympiad a year ago and had the original schedule pushed through, and would have made his pro debut after the Games. But the pandemic, plus the 2015 rule that allowed professionals to fight in the Olympics, made him keep his Olympian status despite turning pro.

Why did it take so long for boxing to allow pros despite all other sports allowing pros as early as Barcelona 1992?

Well, you have to understand that the International Olympic Committee is a family of international sports federations like Fiba for basketball and Fifa for football. For boxing, it’s the IABA. It used to be the International Amateur Boxing Association, but I think they’ve changed the name since they’ve dropped the amateur and professional distinction. So, pre-2015, in the eyes of the Olympic Federation, professional boxing didn’t exist because none of the alphabet bodies—WBC, IBF, WBA, WBO—is a member.

But of course IABA couldn’t ignore pro boxing forever and after adopting the pro rules on scoring and no headgear, it staged its own version of pro boxing with its World Series events, then it welcomed the pros for Rio 2016. I think only two joined, since I remember the elite champions of five years ago scoffed at the idea of fighting amateurs. The two pros didn’t do well in Brazil, getting knocked out in the early rounds. That’s a crucial distinction between pro boxing and the Olympic version. Elite pro fighters fight, at most, twice a year while the Olympians, the best of their sport, fight five rounders five times in a week during the Olympics.

As for Marcial, well his pro debut, I think, will only boost his Olympic bid since it has strengthened his confidence going to Tokyo 2021 in the middle of next year. Whether that ends in an Olympic gold remains to be seen, though I hope it will. I hope, too, that Marcial making his pro debut before his Olympic bid, will prod some of our young pro fighters—heck maybe even the champs themselves—to take a shot at the Olympics.

Olympics-bound boxer wins pro debut. Now that’s something you don’t read every day nor something you would have read a couple of Olympic cycles ago. Eumir Marcial, the latest great Pinoy boxing hope for an Olympic gold medal, made Andrew Whitfield look like an amateur on Dec. 17, 2020 (PH time), when he made his long-anticipated pro debut.

Marcial clinched a spot to the Olympiad a year ago and had the original schedule pushed through, and would have made his pro debut after the Games. But the pandemic, plus the 2015 rule that allowed professionals to fight in the Olympics, made him keep his Olympian status despite turning pro.

Why did it take so long for boxing to allow pros despite all other sports allowing pros as early as Barcelona 1992?

Well, you have to understand that the International Olympic Committee is a family of international sports federations like Fiba for basketball and Fifa for football. For boxing, it’s the IABA. It used to be the International Amateur Boxing Association, but I think they’ve changed the name since they’ve dropped the amateur and professional distinction. So, pre-2015, in the eyes of the Olympic Federation, professional boxing didn’t exist because none of the alphabet bodies—WBC, IBF, WBA, WBO—is a member.

But of course IABA couldn’t ignore pro boxing forever and after adopting the pro rules on scoring and no headgear, it staged its own version of pro boxing with its World Series events, then it welcomed the pros for Rio 2016. I think only two joined, since I remember the elite champions of five years ago scoffed at the idea of fighting amateurs. The two pros didn’t do well in Brazil, getting knocked out in the early rounds. That’s a crucial distinction between pro boxing and the Olympic version. Elite pro fighters fight, at most, twice a year while the Olympians, the best of their sport, fight five rounders five times in a week during the Olympics.

As for Marcial, well his pro debut, I think, will only boost his Olympic bid since it has strengthened his confidence going to Tokyo 2021 in the middle of next year. Whether that ends in an Olympic gold remains to be seen, though I hope it will. I hope, too, that Marcial making his pro debut before his Olympic bid, will prod some of our young pro fighters—heck maybe even the champs themselves—to take a shot at the Olympics.