Filipino southpaw Eumir Marcial and Armenian rival Arman Darchinyan, who square off today in the quarterfinal round of the Tokyo Olympics, have a few things in common.
They both trained under Freddie Roach at some point during their professional careers.
Marcial and Darchinyan both are professionals although they have only fought once.
Dachinyan had his first pro assignment in October 2019 with Roach calling the shots in his corner when he stopped Kendall Taylor in Hollywood.
Last December, it was Marcial’s turn to turn pro and Roach was right there as well when he beat up Andrew Whitfield in Los Angeles.
The winner of today’s clash at the Kokugikan Sumo Arena will advance to the semifinals.
Marcial and Darchinyan, actually, are no strangers to each other.
In 2018, Marcial beat Darchinyan on points in the gold medal match of the Konstantin Korotkot slugfest in Khabarovsk, Russia.
But many things have changed since then and Darchinyan, like Marcial, is seriously zeroing in on the Tokyo gold.
“This has always been a goal of mine to qualify for the Olympics. But most of all to become a great boxer,” Darchinyan, 27, told Armenian Weekly.
“Ever since I was young, I just wanted to be a great boxer, whether it’s an Olympic champion, world champion or European champion.”
Marcial, who topped the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualification Tournament, and Darchinyan, third-placer in the Euro qualifying, both drew first-round byes.
Marcial disposed of Younes Nemouchi of Algeria in the first round in his Tokyo debut while Darchinyan outpointed Andrej Csemez of Slovakia to make the Round of 16.
National team coach Don Abnett sees victory for Marcial.
“He (Darchinyan) boxed pretty similarly. I’ve seen quick footage of him boxing Eumir last time. The boy hasn’t changed his style at all,” Abnett said
“He still has the one-dimensional style so he’s very easy to read. His reflexes are probably not as fast as Eumir’s so I’m predicting a win there.”
The winner of the quarterfinal bout will face the winner between Ukarianian top seed Oleksandr Khyzhniak and Euri Cedeno Martinez of the Dominican Republic.
Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines secretary general Ed Picson said Marcial, a three-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, has improved a lot under a battery of coaches.
“He’s always been very good and he’s really powerful. But still, there are areas in his game that had to be worked on and coach Don Abnett together with coach Ronald Chavez and coach Gershon Nietes, who has been here early in Colorado, worked hard to get the kinks out of Marcial’s game,” Picson said. With report from Ivan Suing