In his quest to win a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics, Filipino boxer Eumir Marcial wants the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) by his side despite his imminent move to the professional ranks.
According to ABAP president Ricky Vargas, the middleweight Olympic qualifier has requested to train with the current coaching staff as he prepares for the Tokyo Games that's suspended indefinitely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Ang request ni Eumir is he wants to train with the current coaching staff that has helped him. We're open naman to give him that. PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) is very supportive of that," Vargas said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday.
That's if his contract allows him to do so, added Vargas.
"I think what's important is what is stated in his contract as a pro, if he's going to sign. If the contract says he's allowed to train and compete with other amateurs, then that's going to be very helpful for us," he said.
ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson said as far as he is concerned, Marcial has yet to sign a professional contract.
"We don't know the terms of his contract. As far as I know, hindi pa naman sya pumipirma e. We will wait kung ano mang mangyari sa kanilang negotiations," Picson said.
Over the years, the organization has lost many boxers to the pro ranks. Picson cited the likes of Mark Anthony and Barriga as well as Mike Plania, who recently essayed a majority decision win over Joshua Greer in a catchweight bout in Las Vegas.
Before he treads the same path that Barriga and Plania took, Marcial wants to be an Olympic medalist first.
"He was with the ABAP for more than nine and a half years. Nag-umpisa yan samin 15 sya. There are other boxers who decided to turn pro earlier than that. Ang magaling kay Eumir, he wanted to be an Olympian and bring home the medal," said Vargas. As tempting as the offers are for boxers when they turn pro, Vargas believes ABAP has been giving boxers enough to stay.
"(It has to be) both ways. Una dapat may kusang loob siya na he wants to play for the country. Second I think the ABAP athletes are blessed with incentives and support PLDT and MVP (Manuel V. Pangilinan) give them," he said when asked how they plan to keep the amateurs.