Swollen knuckles hamper Eumir Felix Marcial’s Rio bid

Qian’An, Hebei Province, China – The Philippines’ Eumir Felix Marcial failed to overcome the ill effects of swollen knuckles on his left hand as he fell short in his bid to secure an Olympic berth to Rio de Janeiro in the box-off in the AIBA Asian-Oceanian qualifying event here.

Marcial lost to Mongolia’s Tuvshinbat Byamba, 29-28, in the knockout between bronze medal winners, dropping the first two rounds before going all out to salvage the last round.

“Eumir gave it all he had,” said ABAP executive director Ed Picson. “He started with some power shots to the head in the first round and we thought he won that initial canto.”

The Zamboanga native rocked the Mongolian with a wicked left hook in the second but couldn’t follow through because of his handicap. He went for broke in the third but by that time Byamba had an insurmountable lead.

“Ginawa ko na lahat pero may mga galaw ako na di ko magawa ngayon,” said Marcial. “Pero kung mabibigyan pa ako ng pagkakataon, sisiguraduhin ko talaga na maganda ang kundisyon ko.”

Earlier, Marcial was unable to put pressure on his ailing mitt losing a 30-27 decision to Uzbekistan’s Shakhram Giyasov in their semifinal bout Thursday and was relegated to box-off against Byamba.

“I was inclined to withdraw his name in tonight’s card but he emphatically pleaded with me to allow him to fight,” said ABAP executive director Ed Picson.

The AIBA doctor visited Marcial early Friday morning and expressed some concern over the boxer’s condition.

“Only after Eumir showed mobility in his hands and wrist, even punching the doctor’s hand, was he given the go signal to fight,” said Picson.

Two others Filipino boxers, light flyweight Rogen Ladon and lightweight Charly Suarez, have already qualified to the Rio Olympiad after winning their respective semifinal bouts Thursday.