One viscious right hook was all it took for Eumir Marcial to push the medal count of the Philippines to three in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, August 1.
With a semifinal berth and a guaranteed bronze medal on the line, Marcial delivered a well-timed, right-handed hammer on Arman Darchinyan of Armenia for a rousing knockout win in the quarterfinals of the men's middleweight division at the Kokugikan Arena.
The bout only lasted for two minutes and eleven seconds as the Filipino boxer sent his Armenian foe crashing to the canvas with 49 ticks left in the opening round.
Billed as one of the country's top gold medal bets, Marcial continues to live up to the billing following back-to-back first round victories in his maiden Summer Games campaign.
The Zamboanga native will now turn his focus on to the next round where a win over Oleksandr Khyzhiak of Ukraine on Thursday, August 5, would propel him to the gold medal match for a shot at history.
Win or lose, Marcial has assured the Philippines of its best Olympic finish in 97 years.
With one gold from Hidilyn Diaz in weightlifting and a guaranteed silver from Nesthy Petecio in the featherweight division, Marcial's surefire bronze has provided the country a three-medal finish in the Olympiad, eclipsing the 1932 Los Angeles Games contingent, where Jose Villanueva (boxing) Teófilo Yldefonso (swimming), and Simeon Toribo(athletics) captured three bronze medals.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.