By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
TOKYO Olympics-bound boxer Eumir Felix Marcial of the Philippines made it a winning professional debut as he defeated American Andrew Whitfield by unanimous decision (UD) in their four-round middleweight clash on Thursday (Manila time) in Los Angeles.
Part of his preparation for the rescheduled Olympic Games in 2021, Mr. Marcial, 25, did not disappoint in his first fight as a professional, holding his own and more on his way to the 40-36, 40-36, and 40-36 victory.
The Zamboanga native started the contest sizing up his opponent early on before picking it up as the opening round progressed to build some separation in landed punches.
He further elevated his game in the second round as he connected with head and body shots with more frequency, which took a toll on Mr. Whitfield.
The round ended with the American, also making his pro debut, nursing a swollen right eye.
Recognizing that his opponent had built some distance in points, Mr. Whitfield came out more aggressive to begin the third frame.
But the Filipino was up to the challenge and kept the gains of Mr. Whitfield to a minimum to stay comfortably ahead heading to the final round.
In the fourth and final round, Mr. Marcial spent much of the time fending off any upset from his opponent while, at the same time, adding more damage, including a solid shot to the body that had Mr. Whitfield cringing for a moment.
The final scorecard had Mr. Marcial (1-0) connecting 39% of his total punches (120-of-310) to Mr. Whitfield’s (3-2) 17% (46-of-273).
Mr. Marcial, who signed a professional deal with Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions in the middle of this year flew to the United States in October to train with famed Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach at the latter’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood with the end view of levelling up his training for the Olympics, while also beginning his journey as a professional.
MP Promotions has made it known that despite Mr. Marcial signing up with them as a professional, it is fully supportive of the boxer’s pursuit of Olympic glory, and is making sure the fighter fulfills his obligations to flag and country.
In the lead-up to the fight, MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons said if Mr. Marcial’s pro debut went well they would line up a couple of more fights to continue the fighter’s buildup for the Olympics.
Apart from Mr. Marcial, other Filipino athletes going to the Tokyo Games to date are pole-vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, and boxer Nesthy Petecio.
The Marcial-Whitfield fight was part of a Premier Boxing Champions offering, which was held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and broadcast over FS1.