Amateur boxing star Eumir Marcial may debut as a pro in October, most likely in Los Angeles, and figure in "about three fights" before competing in the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics next year.
"Hopefully we'll do something in October, and then we'll work from there. Hopefully three fights before he has to stop and fully concentrate on the Olympics," MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons said Tuesday in an online press conference with the Philippine Sportswriters Association.
To keep Marcial on track to be the first Filipino boxer to win gold in the Olympics, Gibbons said the pro-bound star won't stray far from the quadrennial tilt's format by taking on four- to six-rounder fights in his first forays.
"We want to keep around the same rounds that he'd be fighting in the Olympics," he explained. "We're trying to keep in line with what's he's gonna be doing in Tokyo. Everything is geared towards preparation for that."
Marcial will also step foot on the ring in his first three bouts at 160 lbs. as a middleweight -- close to his fighting weight in the Olympics.
"We'll probably do him at middleweight at 160 -- right in there, 160, 162 -- because again, Eumir's fighting in the Olympics at 165," said Gibbons. "You don't wanna take a guy and go too low when you're basically just preparing everything for Tokyo."
"Talagang fit 'yun sa'kin. Ngayon medyo mataas konti 'yung timbang ko, pero pagdating sa weight na 'yan, diyan talaga kundisyon 'yung katawan ko," Marcial said about fighting at 160.
The Olympic-bound boxer recently inked a lucrative six-year deal with eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao's camp, but he has been very vocal in past interviews about his desire to snag a gold in Tokyo first.
To further his goal, Gibbons said the promoters accommodated Marcial's request of retaining Don Abnett and Ronald Chavez, his coaches in the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP), once they start training in Los Angeles for both his pro fights and the Olympics.
"It's what Eumir has always told me: 'I promised my dad, I promised my country that I'm gonna win the gold medal.' So that's what we're doing every day to start his career with," said Gibbons, who added that as an MP Promotions fighter, Marcial will be aligned with Premier Boxing Champions in the United States.
"Gusto ko pa rin 'yung training program ng ABAP, 'yung style ko ganun pa rin. Always ko sinasabi sa kanila, sa mga nagtatanong sa'kin na talagang Olympics 'yung priority ko," said Marcial. "'Yung laban sa pro, pwede naman i-move 'yan. Pero 'yung Olympics, ang hirap. Ilang taon ko bago hinintay 'to para maka-qualify."
Gibbons, though, didn't discount the possibility of Marcial also working with the likes of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach.
"Hopefully Freddie, I think, will be a great fit, of course. You look at the history, he's done a few good things with Filipino fighters. I think there's a good track record there," said Gibbons.
"He's had very good coaches so far. He's done very well. We're gonna adapt whatever Eumir wants with his coaches with maybe some of whoever the team chooses in LA," he added. "We're in discussion with Eumir. I always let him be part of the decision because he knows what's best also."
Gibbons appears optimistic about Marcial's potential as a future world champion and said the 24-year-old, who is also the first amateur fighter he's ever had in his stead, is "the brightest, the biggest one I've ever worked with as a prospect in 35 years of boxing."
"What makes Eumir special is two things that you don't learn - either you're born with it and you have it, or you don't. He's a puncher and he's got heart, and he's got a good chin, and he's got the determination and the will to win," Gibbons emphasized. "When I watch him fight, you don't see guys ever at this weight from the Philippines. It's historic already. What he's able to accomplish at 165 pounds in the amateurs, it's unheard of."
"There's a lot of prospects all over the world, but I only have one, and one and only is all I'm doing," he reiterated. "I've never done one in 35 years. This is the first one, and it's gonna be the best one. I've never been involved with anybody that's going to the Olympics, so I'm thrilled that he chose us to go along with his journey with him."
Gibbons said he's also not concerned about any problems Marcial may encounter along the way and said the amateur star's strengths will translate easily in the pros.
"He's already beat the best in the world right now in the amateurs. He beat all the top guys along the way. If you look at him physically, he absolutely has the strength, the power, the chin. He's got everything you want to compete at that weight. I have no concerns," he said.