MANILA: As flyweight Ian Clark Bautista has lost his Olympic bid, welterweight Eumir Felix Marcial is now the lone Filipino contender in the AIBA World Olympic Qualification event in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Marcial, seeded No. 1, drew a bye in the first round, giving the hard-hitting southpaw extra time to get a feel of the action from ringside. He climbs the ring against Germany’s Abass Baraou, who knocked out New Zealand’s John Nyika in the second round Thursday evening, reported Philippine Star.
The 21-year-old Bautista, one of five Pinoy boxers who won a gold medal in last year’s SEA Games in Singapore, had the misfortune of going up against two-time Olympian José Kelvin de la Nieve Linares of Spain in his opening bout, the report said.
Linares, who competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics in Beijing and London, reportedly won a tight contest against Bautista, 29-28. The fight could have gone either way, according to Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines executive director Ed Picson.
Born in the Dominican Republic, the 29-year-old Linares became a Spanish citizen in 2000. He represented Spain in the last two Olympics where he failed to get past the preliminary rounds. He leaned on his experience to beat Bautista, who was seeking his first Olympic stint, said the news portal.
Picson reportedly felt that Bautista did enough to win the fight. But the judges gave Linares the first two rounds. In the third, the Filipino gave his all and won the round, 10-9.
“Yan-Yan (Bautista) fought a gallant fight,” said Picson, now hoping for Marcial to carry the fight for the Philippines, and catch the last bus to this year’s Olympics.