MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino boxer Eumir Marcial is making a good decision by signing with Manny Pacquiao's MP Promotions.
This is the sentiment of Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) president Ricky Vargas, after the Olympic-bound Marcial announced that he had signed a six-year deal with the promotional outfit on Thursday.
"I am very happy for him," Vargas said in a text message to ABS-CBN News. "(I) wished him well and said he can now focus on his career."
"He is in good hands with Sen. Pacquiao," he added.
The 24-year-old Marcial ended months of speculation by signing with MP Promotions, officially turning professional in the process.
Despite this latest career move, Marcial will still represent the Philippines in the Tokyo Olympics next year, having qualified by ruling the middleweight division in the Asia and Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament last March.
Marcial has said that his goal is to be an Olympic gold medalist as well as a world champion.
"Gaya po ng aking naipangako, ibibigay ko ang lahat ng aking makakaya para makuha ang minimithi natin na Olympic gold medal at maging isang boxing world champion ilang taon mula ngayon," he said.
Vargas, meanwhile, guaranteed that Marcial continues to enjoy the full support of ABAP, even as a professional.
"I reiterated ABAP's all-out support on his quest for the Olympic medal, and told him he is always welcome to our training camp," he said.
"If he needs any help from his ABAP family and coaches, (we) will be there for him always," he added. "I also thanked him for his commitment to train hard and represent our country in the Olympics."
Vargas has previously expressed his confidence that Marcial can reach the podium in the Tokyo Olympics -- and even possibly win a gold medal.
"I think Eumir has a 90% chance to bring home a medal, and an 80% chance to bring the gold," he said.
Aside from Marcial, Irish Magno has also qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in the women's flyweight division. At least four other boxers -- including world champion Nesthy Petecio -- are still seeking their tickets to the Olympic Games.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).