TOKYO Olympics-bound boxing champion Eumir Marcial is taking the first big step to turn pro.
Marcial, who formally joined the MP Promotions of boxing legend Manny Pacquiao before fighting for the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo next year, is set to formally apply for a professional boxing license with the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) in Makati next week.
GAB Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra said Marcial is scheduled to visit the GAB office on July 29 to complete the necessary requirements to get a professional boxing license.
“He (Eumir) must personally visit our office to apply for a boxing license. He will also undergo the standard medical checkups given to all boxers,” Mitra told People’s Tonight.
“I’m also happy for his decision to turn pro. He will be a welcome addition to our long and distinguished list of Filipino fighters who brought honors to the country,” added Mitra.
The three-time lawmaker from Palawan said he is excited to watch the 24-year-old Filipino champion from Zamboanga fight in the professional ring.
“Before he (Marcial) fights for the elusive gold medal in the Olympics next year, let’s watch and enjoy his fights as a professional under the MP Promotions,” added Mitra.
As GAB chairman, Mitra is an active supporter of professional boxing in the country and regularly meets with promoters, managers and boxers to find out what they need.
Mitra is also actively pushing for the safe return of pro boxing during his meetings with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
Earlier, Sean Gibbons of the MP Promotions said they expect Marcial to have at least three fights before the Tokyo Olympics next year.
“We hope to have three fights before the Olympics. We don’t really want to rush him as he enters the brutal world of professional boxing,” said Gibbons in last Tuesday’s PSA Sports Forum.
He said three fights should fit in Marcial’s schedule for the next nine months.
By April, Marcial will have to focus fully on the Olympics.
“Hopefully we can do something in October and work from there.Three fights before he has to stop and fully concentrate on the Olympics,” said Gibbons.
“As we move along. By the third year (as a pro) I think he’ll be able to challenge someone for the title,” added Gibbons.
Among the well-known fighters being mentioned in local boxing circle as Marcial’s probable opponents are middleweight champions Canelo Alvarez, who is 30 years old, and Gennady Golovkin, who is already 38.
But Marcial himself said that it’s too early to think of the big fights.
“Matagal pa yun. Nagsisimula pa lang ako. I still have to fight the best in the Olympics. Yun Russian, na tumalo dati sa akin. Yun Ukrainian, pati na mga boxers from Kazakhstan and Cuba,” said Marcial in the weekly sports forum presented by San Miguel Corp., Go for Gold, Amelie Hotel, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Smart.