Eumir Felix Marcial has signed his first professional boxing contract with Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions, in a bid to become the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medallist.
The 24-year-old won the middleweight world silver medal in 2019, and secured his place at Tokyo Olympics before the COVID-19 pandemic brought the qualifying process to a halt.
“I chose MP Promotions because of their 100-percent support to my dream of fighting for the Philippines in my future competitions like the SEA, Asian and Olympic Games,” the 25-year-old said in a statement on his Facebook page.
Although it is unusual for professional boxers to compete at the Olympics, it is permitted. As such, the Zamboanga native’s six-year deal stipulates that he will be allowed to compete in the national team as an amateur, despite having signed a professional contract.
“In fact, it stated in my deal that they will not prevent me when the time comes that the national team needs me to compete,” Marcial continued.
"I will give everything I can to get the Olympic gold medal we desire and to be a boxing world champion for years from now."
Pacquiao is considered one of the finest pugilists in history, and remains the only eight-division world champion.
His respect at home was unrivaled. Despite having never boxed at an Olympics, he was selected as the Team Philippines' flag-bearer for the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Games.
The 41-year-old is also a keen basketball fan, having previously played in a semi-professional league, and founding a Philippine Basketball Association Developmental League side.
Following his retirement from the ring, he was elected as Senator of the Philippines in 2016.