Tuesday, May 30, 2023  |



Unbeaten pro KK Ng suffers TKO loss to Eumir Marcial in Asian Games tourney

Photo by Ryan Songalia
Fighters Network

Some may assume that having a professional boxing license automatically makes one a better fighter than open, or what they used to refer to as amateur, boxers.

Eumir Marcial made a strong counter argument to that on Monday in his middleweight round-of-16 bout against unbeaten pro Kuok Kun Ng of Macau at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The Filipino boxer used his southpaw power punching to deposit Ng on the canvas with a straight left hand, and hurt him again once he rose up to convince the ref to stop the fight at the 2:08 mark.

Ng is still unbeaten as a pro at 12-0 (7 knockouts), and had trained alongside Manny Pacquiao in General Santos City and competed on his undercards when he fought Chris Algieri and Brandon Rios. Ng has not fought a pro fight since May of 2017, however, and had far less amateur experience than the 22-year-old Marcial, who won gold at the 2011 AIBA Youth Championships, and the Southeast Asian Games in 2015 and 2017.

AIBA, the international body which oversees Olympic-style boxing, removed headgear and allowed pros to compete prior to the 2016 Olympics. Despite concerns that the pros would have unfair advantages, all three pros at the Rio Games – including pro champs Amnat Ruenroeng and Hassan N’Dam – were defeated in the early rounds.

Marcial’s win, plus the victories of junior flyweight Carlo Paalam and flyweight Rogen Ladon helped boost the morale of the Philippines squad which suffered early defeats, including the shock KO of bantamweight Mario Fernandez to Iraq’s Jaafar Abdulridha Ali Al Sudani, plus the disputed points loss of female boxer Nesthy Petecio to China’s Yin Junhua, as they seek to improve off their 2014 campaign which saw them miss out on gold for the first time since 2002.

Judging controversies at the Olympics have led to threats from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) about excluding boxing from the 2020 Games in Tokyo for the first time, which has put the sport under the microscope at the 46-nation Asiad.

“Obviously the wins of Ladon, Paalam and Marcial, as lopsided as they were, are great morale boosters, not only for the boxing team but for the rest of the Philippine delegation here,” said Ed Picson, executive director of the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP), which oversees boxing in the country.

“However, the ridiculous decision in Nesthy’s fight rankles. And the grumblings we hear from other countries about some of the other fights are worrisome. We do try to isolate the boxers from this talk, but they also watch the other fights and several have perplexed them. AIBA needs to do something about this. This will impact on the integrity issue that has been raised by the IOC who has threatened to pull out boxing from the Tokyo Olympics.”

The road gets tougher for the Philippines from here as Ladon, one of the Philippines’ two Olympic boxers from Rio, faces Kazakhstan’s Mahmetov Azat today (Tuesday local time) in the quarters, while Paalam is set to face World Series of Boxing vet Temirtas Zhussupov, also of Kazakhstan on Wednesday.

As for Marcial, he’ll face upstart Kim Jinjea of South Korea on Wednesday in his quarterfinal match.

Picson sees the potential for some former Philippine amateur standouts to return to Olympic-style boxing – that is if they still have the desire to.

“There are pros who still have their ‘amateur’ DNA in them – [Mark Anthony] Barriga and [Jhack] Tepora come to mind – but I don’t know if they want to come back or even if their contracts will allow that,” said Picson.

Other notable boxers in the tournament include Hasanboy Dusmatov, the Uzbek who won the junior flyweight gold in Rio. He advanced with a 5-0 decision over a boxer from Laos and will face Mirlan Turkbai Uulu of Kyrgyzstan in his quarterfinal match.

Hu Jianguan, the 2016 flyweight bronze medalist from China, made an early exit in the first round, losing a 3-2 decision to three-time AIBA World Championships medalist Jasurbek Latipov of Uzbekistan.

Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and can be reached at [email protected].