The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) was displeased by Eumir Marcial's recent statement, in which he said the sport’s national body did not support his move to train in the US.
“I don’t understand what Eumir is complaining about. Despite our pleas for him to start fighting as a professional after the Olympics, he decided to embark on a pro career at this stage. We wanted to help him in the transition but he refused our offers to assist him in that process,” said ABAP president Ricky Vargas.
Marcial, who along with Irish Magno qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, recently signed with Manny Pacquiao's MP Promotions with hopes of improving his chances for the Summer Games.
Picson maintained the ABAP gave Marcial all the support possible.
Besides sending him training equipment, the ABAP said it also provided him a pocket Wi-Fi to help him attend the daily online training sessions, "but he did not attend a single one."
Regarding Marcial's request to have national coaches accompany him to his training in the US, Picson said it was the boxer himself who informed him the PSC would allow the coaches to go but will not pay them allowances.
“Which makes perfect sense”, according to Picson, “since these coaches are being paid by PSC to work with the national team for amateur boxing, not for the pros. And how would the other boxers feel if they were denied the services of two of our best coaches because they had to attend to one professional boxer?”
Picson said Australian coaching consultant Don Abnett even offered to train him daily at Marcial’s residence in Cavite weeks before he left for the US.
“I told Eumir of Don’s offer. He agreed. Abnett called and texted him several times to arrange this, but Marcial never took or returned his calls nor replied to his text messages," said Picson.
The ABAP, meanwhile, acknowledged that it has yet to give Marcial and Magno the incentives for qualifying to the Olympics.
Vargas said his group always gave incentives to their boxers, even for the smallest of tournaments, although it is not mandatory.
“Amateurs are supposed to compete for flag and country. Just ask athletes from other sports and other countries. But ABAP always gives. Then again, these are challenging times, so we are still sourcing funds for that. I hope he will be patient. We will give him money. We even wrote PSC to upgrade his and Magno’s allowances after they qualified," said Vargas.
The ABAP president hinted that in the end, Marcial will have to come back to them to get their endorsement to compete in Tokyo.
“ABAP tried its best to support Marcial because we know he would be an asset to our campaign in the Olympics. And we assured him time and again that if he is willing and able when the Olympics come around, we will include him in our lineup," said Vargas.
Athletes in all sports need the endorsement of their National Federation to fight in the Olympiad.